- Gremio clinch first spot in the Club World Cup final
- Copa Libertadores winners needed extra time to see off Pachuca
- Fabulous strike by Everton clinched victory
Gremio needed extra time to see off Pachuca in an intense FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 semi-final, with a sensational strike from Everton clinching a 1-0 win and the Brazilian side's spot in Saturday's final.
Both sides gave no quarter in the opening exchanges, with a combative half ensuing. Physicality, however, was more prevalent than chances, neither side being able to carve out clear-cut opportunities. Edilson and Oscar Murillo both tried their luck from range, but only led to exciting the crowd rather than troubling Oscar Perez.
Keisuke Honda looked the closest to threatening the scoresheet but, having been put through on two occasions, the door was emphatically slammed shut by Bruno Cortez. His influence continued to grow in to the second half, with Victor Guzman forcing Marcelo Grohe into his first meaningful save.
Opposite number Perez, the tournament’s oldest ever player, was stretched even further, diving superbly to his left to deny Luan, tipping the highly-rated No7’s effort on to the post. It was Pachuca’s turn to graze the upright next, with their hero against Wydad Casablanca, Guzman, flicking his header narrowly beyond the far post.
A golden chance fell to Luan in the closing minutes of regular time, but a deflected corner came at him too quickly, eventually falling to the grateful Perez. But it took less than five minutes of extra time for the deadlock to be broken, with Everton skipping in off the left flank to whip a vicious shot into the far top corner.
Continuing to look a menace, Everton played his part in allowing Leo Moura to square to Luan, who really should have wrapped the game up. However, when Victor Guzman picked up his second yellow, that was the end of Pachuca's final dreams.