Barcelona defeats Atlante to reach final of World Club Championship

09:43, December 17, 2009      

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Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic battles for the ball with Atlante's goalkeeper Federico Vilar (R) during their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final soccer match at Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi December 16, 2009.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

European Champions FC Barcelona defeated Mexican side Atlante in the semi-final of the World Club Championship to assure a place in the final of the competition on Wednesday.

Barcelona had to come back from conceding a shock early goal to the Mexicans to avoid a shock and the Spanish outfit will now face the Argentinean team Estudiantes in Saturday's final in Abu Dhabi.

Guillermo Rojas opened the scoring in the third minute with a freak goal.

Atlante took a foul from deep in its own penalty area. There should have been no problem, but the Barcelona defense totally misjudged the ball and goalkeeper Victor Valdes mistimed a run off his line to leave Rojas with a simple tap in.

The Mexican squad had said before the game they were angry at being written off before kick off and for a while it looked as if a surprise was on the cards.

However, Barcelona soon took control of things and Sergio Busquets levelled the score ten minutes before half time. Xavi Hernandez took a corner, Toure Yaya got a touch and Busquets was on hand to score from close range.

Barcelona had kicked off without Leo Messi in the starting 11. The forward had missed Saturday's Primera Liga game with an ankle injury. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola decided to bring Messi into the match after 52 minutes and a minute later he was rewarded with a goal.

Messi received a pass and with his first touches in the game, rounded the Atlante keeper and scored to put Barcelona ahead.

Pedro Rodriguez scored Barcelona's third goal after 66 minutes. The goal meant that Pedro has made history by becoming the first player ever to score a goal in all six competitions Barcelona has participated in this season.

He has scored in the Primera Liga, King's Cup, Spanish Supercup, Champions League, European Supercup and now the World Club Championship. An incredible feat for the 22-year-old.

Both sides had chances in the closing minutes, but Barcelona always looked to be in control and is now one win away from making history by lifting six titles in a calendar year.

Source: Xinhua

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