Santos are into the FIFA Club World Cup final after a 3-1 win over Kashiwa Reysol
Goals from Neymar, Borges and Danilo secured victory for the Brazilian side
The South American champions will face Barcelona or Al Sadd in Sunday's final
NEW: French side PSG and English club Fulham crash out of the Europa League
Brazilian side Santos booked their place in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Wednesday with a 3-1 defeat of Japanese outfit Kashiwa Reysol in Toyota City.
The South American champions will now face either European Champions League winners Barcelona or Qatari side Al Sadd in Sunday’s final.
Santos took the lead at the Toyota Stadium after 19 minutes, Brazil forward Neymar displaying dazzling footwork to evade a challenge before curling a delightful shot into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Striker Borges ensured the eight-time Brazilian champions went into half-time with a two-goal lead when he bent a similarly impressive effort into the back of Kashiwa goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno’s net.
J-League champions Kashiwa rallied and dragged themselves back into the contest nine minutes into the second half, when defender Hiroki Sakai headed home Jorge Wagner’s corner.
But Muricy Ramalho’s team sealed victory just past the hour mark, Brazil full-back Danilo dispatching a long-range free-kick into the bottom corner to end Kashiwa’s resistance.
The 20-year-old Danilo is on the verge of leaving Santos, having already agreed a deal to join Portuguese side Porto after the Club World Cup.
Santos are making their first appearance at the Club World Cup in its current format, but won tournament under its previous title of the Intercontinental Cup in both 1962 and 1963.
Barcelona, who claimed the trophy in 2009 and 2006, will be hoping to reach the final for the third time in six years when they face Asian champions Al Sadd on Thursday.
Al Sadd, coached by Uruguayan Jorge Fossati, defeated African Champions League winners Esperance of Tunisia to reach the semifinals.
In the Europa League, French side Paris St Germain beat Group F table-toppers Atletico Bilbao 4-2 but it wasn’t enough to stop them crashing out before the round of 32 stage.
Under new Qatari owners, PSG had been one of the favorites for the competition but their fate was sealed by Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg who beat Slovan Bratislava 3-2 in Slovenia to qualify in second.
Turkish outfit Besiktas beat Stoke City 3-1 to seal top spot in Group E as the English Premier League club had to make do with second place. Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kiev were knocked out after drawing 3-3 with Maccabi Tel-Aviv.
Italian Serie A side Lazio beat already qualified Sporting Lisbon, from Portugal, 2-0 to go through to the knockout stage as runners-up in Group D.
English side Fulham, finalists back in 2010, were on course for a place in the last 32 after claiming a 2-0 lead over Odense BK but the Danish outfit hit back and grabbed a last minute equalizer to knock the London club out.
Fulham’s defeat meant Poland’s Wisla Krakow went through as runners-up in Group K after a 2-1 victory over Dutch side FC Twente, who had already qualified in first place.
Steaua Bucharest claimed second spot in Group J, the Romanians beating AEK Larnaca, from Cyprus, 3-1. German club Schalke, who had already qualified in top spot, beat Maccabi Haifa, from Israel 3-0.
In Group L, Belgian side Anderlecht beat Lokomotiv Moscow 5-3 to seal top spot in the group. The Russians go through in second.