Douglas double helps Sanfrecce slay Evergrande

Douglas double helps Sanfrecce slay Evergrande

Douglas celebrated a late double as Sanfrecce Hiroshima came from behind to defeat Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1 in the play-off for third place at the Club World Cup on Sunday.

The Japanese champions were able to celebrate in front of a home crowd in Yokohama as they bounced back from their semi-final defeat to River Plate, though things threatened to go wrong at the start.

Paulinho pounced to put Evergrande 1-0 up inside the third minute when Sanfrecce’s defence were unable to clear Li Xuepeng’s quality ball into the box, with the ball pinging around before the ex-Tottenham midfielder headed home.

The opener failed to set the tone for the AFC Champions League winners, however, as Hajime Moriyasu’s men turned up the pressure for the rest of the half, urged on by the crowd.

Things appeared to be going the same way for Sanfrecce as in the semi-final defeat to River, though, as they saw a certain goal cleared off the line, but Douglas was able to restore parity in the second period.

The 27-year-old struck from Yusuke Chajima’s corner in the 70th minute, with the MEIJI YASUDA J1 League second top scorer then clinching the winner by heading in with seven minutes left on the clock to spark celebrations at the final whistle.

Victory ensures Sanfrecce head into Saturday’s Emperor’s Cup quarter-final with FC Tokyo on a high, with the side aiming to secure a domestic double.

In the other match of the day, Barcelona lifted a record third world title by beating River 3-0 in the Club World Cup final.