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The BBC's Ron Jones reports
"They made hard work of it, but Corinthians scraped through"
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Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 01:40 GMT
Corinthians creep into final

Ricardinho "nutmegs" Al Mousa before scoring for Corinthians

Al Nassr 0-2 Corinthians

Corinthians survived some major scares to sneak into the final of the inaugural World Club Championship with victory in their last group game.

World Club Championship
The Brazilians needed to beat Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr by two clear goals to qualify, following Real Madrid's remarkable 3-2 victory over Raja Casablanca earlier on Monday.

And their captain Freddy Rincon scored the crucial goal eight minutes from time to take Corinthians through.

They will now face either fellow Brazilians Vasco de Gama or Necaxa of Mexico in Friday's final.

Match facts
25: Ricardhino gives Corinthians the lead
68: Daniel's dismissal leaves Corinthians with 10 men
82: Rincon claims the second
But for much of a tense match in Sao Paulo it looked as though Al Nassr were poised to pull off a major upset - if not by actually winning, then at least by preventing the 2-0 scoreline.

Corinthians were expected to coast through and when Ricardhino scored in the first half, it looked like heralding a comfortable victory.

But Al Nassr had refused to read the script and they battled all the way, threatening to break through Corinthians' suspect defence.

When Daniel was sent off for a second bookable offence mid-way through the second half, Corinthians began to suffer some major flutters.

Edilson of Corinthians suffers in the Sao Paulo rain
But just when their title hopes looked to be disappearing, Rincon struck to take them back to the top of group A.

Al Nassr's star player Ahmed Bahja almost shocked the Brazilians in a first half that was played in torrential rain. But after finding himself in acres of space on the right he tried to lash the ball past Dida, only to see the keeper turn it away with a tumbling save.

Corinthians went ahead on 25 minutes, courtesy of a piece of top-notch Brazilian skill.

Ricardhino skipped into the area, cheekily pushed the ball through the legs of his hapless marker Mansour Al Mousa and then slotted a deflected shot into the back of the net.

Fluffed lines from Luizao

Corinthians came out after the break in determined mood and should have scored twice in the opening minutes of the second half - but Luizao missed both glorious chances.

First Marcelhino supplied a dangerous swerving cross from the right that fell perfectly at the feet of the unmarked Luizao - but the striker embarrassingly scuffed his shot wide.

And then it was Daniel's turn to provide a perfect pass from a similar position, but this time Luizao headed over the bar from close in.

The frontman's misery was complete soon after when he was booked for complaining about a refereeing decision that went against his team and then put a header tamely into the hands of keeper Babkr.

But Corinthians remained less than impressive and Al Nassr continued to cause problems on the break, with Bahja a constant thorn in the Brazilians' side.

Daniel departs

The Saudis' spirits were raised when Daniel, who had been booked in the first half, was sent off with 22 minutes left for a second yellow card when he clattered into Abdulaziz Al Janoubi.

Bahja should have levelled the scores when he was presented with two clear chances in quick succession, but on both occasions he put the ball across the face of the goal with the keeper stranded.

Corinthians were under real pressure - but Al Nassr's defensive frailty was exposed eight minutes from time when Rincon scored the vital goal.

Luiza rolled a perfectly-weighted ball into the path of the over-lapping Colombian midfielder, who thumped a great shot past the helpless Babkr.

Having scored the two goals they needed, Corinthians almost added to the tally, but Marcelhino hit the bar with a superb free-kick and then spooned the ball over from point-blank range.


Al-Nassr: Babkr, Al-Husseini, Al-Amin, M Al-Dosari, Bahja, Al-Mousa, Al Karni, Saib, Al-Harthi, Sharify, Al Shokia.
Subs: M. Al-Dosari, Sharifi, Al-Halawi, F Al-Dosari, Aboshahin, Triki, Al-Harbi, Mehalel, Al-Khathran, Al-Janoubi, Al-Ghamdi, Al-Dhaferi.

Corinthians: Dida, Carlos, Vampeta, Kleber, Marcelinho, Rincon, Luizao, Edilson, Ricardinho, Daniel, Luciano.
Subs: Mauricio, Yamada, Indio, Adilson, Costa, Baiano, Dinei, Augusto, Edu, Gilmar, Senna, Mario.

Referee: Dick Jol (Holland)
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Surreal win for eight-man Real
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All square in Brazilian rain
06 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Corinthians benefit from controversy
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Anelka finally opens account
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Al-Nassr: Arabian adventurers
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Corinthians: Rewarding the faithful
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Necaxa stay on track
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09 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
World Club Championship tables

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