River Plate edge Hiroshima to reach Club World Cup final

South American champions River Plate survived a scare to beat Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 on Wednesday and reach the final of the Club World Cup. Striker Lucas Alario’s headed goal after 72 minutes spared Argentine blushes in Osaka after several close shaves at the other end.

River will face either Barcelona or China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in Sunday’s final.   -  REUTERS

South American champions River Plate survived a scare to beat Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima 1-0 on Wednesday and reach the final of the Club World Cup.

Striker Lucas Alario’s headed goal after 72 minutes spared Argentine blushes in Osaka after several close shaves at the other end.

River will face either Barcelona or China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in Sunday’s final in Yokohama.

The Libertadores Cup holders were indebted to goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero, who produced a string of superb saves to keep out Hiroshima, the surprise 3-0 winners over Congolese side Mazembe at the weekend.

Barovero sprinted from his line to deny Yusuke Minagawa in the 26th minute before acrobatically tipping over a stinging drive from Yusuke Chajima.

Rodrigo Mora blazed wastefully over at the start of the second half. But Alario settled River’s nerves when he nodded in from close range after Hiroshima goalkeeper Takuto Hayashi flapped at a free kick from Tabare Viudez.