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Gallardo relishing Club World Cup challenge

Reaching this weekend’s Club World Cup final is the top priority for River Plate coach Marcelo Gallardo as they look to cap a trophy-laden 18 months.

Since Gallardo’s appointment in June 2014, River have claimed the Copa Sudamericana, Recopa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and Suruga Bank Championship titles.

Their Copa Libertadores triumph over Tigres UANL in August booked their place in Japan, and Gallardo is keen to finish the year on a high by winning the Club World Cup for the first time.

“You don’t live something like this every day,” he said. “In a year and a half, a lot of nice things have happened to us and today we are in a privileged place. 

“Being here is the cherry on the cake because the club returns to play in something like this after 19 years [when they reached the Intercontinental Cup final]. 

“So we are all very happy, from me to the players, my staff, the club’s board and the fans. It’s a moment to enjoy and appreciate.”

River’s semi-final on Wednesday sees them face J.League winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima, a side who secured their place earlier this month and have already beaten Auckland City and TP Mazembe.

Gallardo added: “It’s a different situation for both teams. They are a team that comes [into the game] with rhythm, which has been playing quite often. 

“We have prepared very well, we have had two weeks since being knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana and that has been very good to highlight what we needed. 

“They’ve been competing but we are rested and we’ll go to the game tomorrow motivated and very well prepared.”

Tue 15 Dec, 2015
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