BAAYA, Qatar (Reuters) - Mexican side Tigres became the first team from North America to reach the final of Club World Cup when they beat Brazilian club Palmeiras 1-0 in the semi-final on Sunday.
After a tepid first half Tigres’ French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac got the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 54th minute when Luan was adjudged to have pulled down Carlos Gonzalez.
Gignac’s goal was his third in two games after he scored a brace in the quarter-finals against Ulsan Hyundai.
Rony had the ball in the net for Palmeiras three minutes later but the goal was offside and Luiz Adriano should have done better than miskick an inviting cross ball by Willian.
Matias Vina’s deflected shot fizzled wide in the last minute for Palmeiras but the Brazilians could have no complaints about the result against a more ambitious side led, ironically, by Brazilian coach Ricardo 'Tuca' Ferretti.
In a reflection of Palmeiras' recent form – they have won only one of their last six games – their outstanding player was goalkeeper Weverton, who made at least three top class saves.
"Unfortunately we were not as efficient as we usually are," said Palmeiras coach Abel Ferreira. "The ball didn't want to go in, we had possession in the second half but the match was decided on that detail of the penalty."
The result means Tigres move into Thursday’s final, where they will face the winners of Monday's second semi-final between Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Egyptian club Al Ahly.
European clubs have won every edition of the Club World Cup since 2012, when Corinthians beat Chelsea.
The final is scheduled for Thursday at the Education City stadium.
(Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)