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Rediff.com  » Sports » Man United beat Gamba to reach Club World Cup final

Man United beat Gamba to reach Club World Cup final

Last updated on: December 18, 2008 20:57 IST

Manchester United hit three goals in an electrifying four-minute spell to beat Japan's Gamba Osaka 5-3 in their Club World Cup semi-final Thursday.

European champions United, heavy favourites to become the first British team to win the seven-team FIFA tournament, will face Ecuador's LDU in Sunday's final in Yokohama.

Victory was overshadowed though by fresh speculation in the Spanish media linking winger Cristiano Ronaldo with a move to Real Madrid, reports angrily denied by manager Alex Ferguson.

"Do you think I would get into a contract with them?," Ferguson told reporters. "They've got no chance. There's no agreement whatsoever between the clubs.

"I wouldn't sell them a virus. It can be annoying but the best thing for us is to ignore it."

Wayne Rooney netted twice moments after coming on as a substitute, his first goal arriving seconds after Gamba striker Masato Yamazaki had pegged the score back to 2-1 in the 74th minute.

Darren Fletcher also got on the scoresheet after coming off the bench as the game exploded into life after headers by Nemanja Vidic and Ronaldo had given United a 2-0 halftime lead.

"The fans got their money's worth," added Ferguson. "I don't know what the score could have been. Edwin van der Sar made three tremendous saves to secure the win for us."

Yasuhito Endo pulled back a goal from the penalty spot for Gamba before Hideo Hashimoto smashed his side's third in injury time, the sixth goal in 17 crazy second-half minutes.

Ronaldo mesmerised the crowd of 67,000 with some dazzling stepovers but was overshadowed by Rooney.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT

The England striker made an immediate impact after coming on, producing a clinical left-foot finish with his first touch.

Rooney then latched on to an excellent through ball from Ryan Giggs for his second.

"It was brilliant out there, a great atmosphere," said Ronaldo, who refused to comment on Real. "The final will be much harder but it would be amazing to be world champions so it's massively important."

Ferguson's side won the tournament's forerunner, a one-off match between the champions of Europe and South America, with a 1-0 victory over Brazil's Palmeiras in 1999.

United were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Argentines Estudiantes in 1968 when the Intercontinental Cup was played over two legs.

Gamba manager Akira Nishino paid tribute to his players.

"We gave them two easy goals from corners and that killed us," he said. "We weren't given a prayer to win this game but we scored three goals so we have to be proud."

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