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Gremio leave it late against Pachuca to advance to Club World Cup Final

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Gremio beat los Tuzos to secure their place in the FIFA Club World Cup Final.

Gremio FBPA v CF Pachuca - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

Pachuca came into tonight’s matchup with a rare record for a Mexican club, which is a winning history against Brazilian sides, having won three games only losing just one. In order to get to this game, Pachuca’s last match featured a late goal by Victor Guzman in extended time and a red card to a Casablanca player in the 69th minute.

Gremio, on the other hand, had been in great form, although tired and fresh off a triumphant Copa Libertadores campaign that extended into November and without their best player Arthur, who is being scouted by big clubs like Barcelona.

The first half of tonight’s Semifinal was dominated in possession by Los Tuzos, but Gremio proved dangerous in set-pieces, having three chances to score in the first period. In addition, Gremio’s forwards were at their best when they countered and it showed with six shots compared to Pachuca’s dismal two in the first half.

Although Pachuca did have the best opportunity of the first half when Honda made a great run and played off of Jara. A through ball from Honda that left the Japanese forward on a 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper, until Gremio’s defender Edilson made a brilliant block to throw Honda’s shot off course and end the first half scoreless.

The second half came and Gremio seemed more aggressive to make a run for goal, pressing Pachuca a bit more. Conejo Perez played great and that was embodied by an amazing save in the 58th minute to the right post to deny the opening goal for Gremio. For a 44 year old keeper that was impressive.

No matter how many set pieces or counters Gremio had they couldn’t convert, and this showed with defensive lapses that often led to Pachuca chances, as a Victor Guzman header in the 75th minute showed.

With two minutes to go in the game, Luan missed a sitter and kept Conejo’s clean sheet alive, extending the game further into extra time.

In extra time, substitute Everton scored a beautiful curler into the back of the net to give Gremio the lead. Pachuca looked down, and after forward Victor Guzman picked up a red card for his second infraction, it was all she wrote.

Overall it was a valiant effort from Pachuca but with limited opportunities they could only do so much. This is why Mexican clubs should be once again allowed to play in the Copa Libertadores because of games such as this. It benefits the game to see these matchups. Especially when Liga MX teams would use the Copa Libertadores to gauge success. Gremio move onto the Final where they are expected to go against Real Madrid, barring a miracle game from Al Jazira tomorrow.

Who do you have winning the FIFA Club World Cup Final?