Romero leads Club America to semifinal of Club World Cup

Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

SUITA, Japan (AP) Silvio Romero scored two second-half goals on Sunday as Mexico’s Club America beat South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors 2-1 in the Club World Cup.

Romero converted a corner kick by Michael Arroyo in the 74th minute to send his team to a semifinal clash with tournament favorites Real Madrid on Thursday.

“This was a night I’ve dreamed about,” Romero said. “To be able to score two goals in such a big tournament I feel like I’ve achieved something big.”

Kim Bo-kyung gave Asian champions Jeonbuk a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute but Romero, who hit the crossbar with a solo effort before the break, equalized in the 58th.

Club America lost to China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in the first round of last year’s tournament.

“We were able to exceed the results of last year,” said Club America coach Ricardo La Volpe. “Mexican football is competitive and I think we were able to demonstrate that.”

Club America were crowned CONCACAF champions for the second year in a row in April, after beating compatriots Tigres 2-0 away and 2-1 at home in the two-legged final.

Yasushi Endo and Mu Kanazaki scored in the second half as Japanese side Kashima Antlers beat African champions Memelodi Sundowns 2-0.

Endo gave the J-League champions a 1-0 lead in 63rd with a left-footed shot that beat Mamelodi goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Kanazaki sealed the win with two minutes left in regulation when he converted a pass from substitute Yuma Suzuki.

Kashima will face South American champions Atletico Nacional of Colombia in the other semifinal on Wednesday.

The African champions dominated the first half and would have led at the break if not for the spectacular play of Kashima goalkeeper Hitoshi Sogahata, who robbed Percy Tau with a diving save midway through the first half.

The Club World Cup features international football’s six continental champions plus a team from the host nation.