12 Dec 2011

Qatar and Japanese champs into Club World Cup semi-finals

6:30 am on 12 December 2011

Asia's finest flexed their muscles at the football Club World Cup with continental champions Al Sadd of Qatar and Japanese title holders Kashiwa Reysol battling into the semi-finals.

Al Sadd ground out a tempestuous 2-1 win over Tunisia's Esperance in Toyota to advance to a dream semi-final against European kings Barcelona.

Reysol then upset Mexico's Monterrey 4-3 in a nerve-jangling penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw to earn a crack at Libertadores Cup holders Santos.

Barcelona left for the Far East immediately after beating Real Madrid 3-1 in Sunday's 'El Clasico' to leapfrog their bitter rivals at the top of La Liga.

The Catalan giants, bidding to win the seven-team tournament for the second time in three years, face Al Sadd in Yokohama on Thursday night.