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Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay put India in control of second Test as Australia"s struggles continue in Hyderabad

India take stranglehold on the second Test as Australia's struggles continue in Hyderabad

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

12:21 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:24 GMT, 3 March 2013

The outstanding batting of Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay put India in control of the second Test against Australia as they finished day two on 311 for one, already a lead of 74 runs.

Pujara was unbeaten on 162 while Vijay was not far behind on 129 after a day of delight for the watching India fans in Hyderabad.

They had begun slowly after Michael Clarke's surprising declaration on 237 for nine last night, resuming on five without loss and playing defensively.

In Control: India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates with Virat Kohli after the dismissal of Australia's Matthew Clarke

In Control: India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates with Virat Kohli after the dismissal of Australia's Matthew Clarke

After underperforming with the bat, Australia knew they needed to make early inroads and their hopes were raised when Virender Sehwag fended behind off Peter Siddle in the fifth over of the day to depart for six.

India did not seem unduly worried, though, as Vijay drove James Pattinson for four in the next over and Pujara clipped his first ball to the boundary.

Thereafter India dug in before the break and it was 18 overs until Vijay struck the next boundary, a lofted drive off Xavier Doherty.

Although Doherty did beat the bat on occasion, the closest Australia came to another breakthrough was a run-out appeal in which replays showed Pujara was comfortably home.

They made it through to lunch on 54 for one, but then stepped it up a gear with Pujara's intentions particularly clear.

Struggling: Australia's Shane Watson walks back to pavilion after his side were bowled out for 237

Struggling: Australia's Shane Watson walks back to pavilion after his side declared at 237

He struck three boundaries off a single Pattinson over early in the session while Vijay soon hit Doherty for six.

Test debutant Glenn Maxwell's first over was a maiden and helped Australia stem the tide, but he gave up 31 off his next six overs as India dominated the rest of the session.

They added 106 runs to reach tea on 160 for one, but were still only warming up and the final session of the day saw them pile on 151 more, their unbroken partnership worth 294 by the close.

Australia looked worryingly short of wicket-takers, with Doherty the only man to even slightly unsettle either batsman as he found a little turn, but nothing they were not able to handle.

The tourists will need to find a way to fix that tomorrow if they are not to let this Test get away from them as the series opener did in Chennai.

Eric Abidal: PSG tried to sign me, I won"t leave Barcelona

I wouldn't leave Barcelona, not even for PSG's megabucks, says Abidal

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UPDATED:

15:35 GMT, 23 December 2012

Eric Abidal has revealed that not even money-flushed PSG could lure him away from Barcelona.

The Frenchman admitted the Qatari-owned club wanted to sign him earlier this year, but says Spain is his new home.

After making a return to training last week for the first time since his liver transplant in April, Abidal reiterated he is determined to make a full recovery and remain with Barcelona until the end of his career.

Road to recovery: Abidal is back in training for Barcelona

Road to recovery: Abidal is back in training for Barcelona

'(PSG have) Maxwell and Mamadou Sakho who play as central defenders, so I think of them and I prefer to stay in Barcelona,' he told Olympique Lyonnais's TV channel.

'It's not just about me, it's a decision I've made for my family too. My wife feels good here and my children have settled into the town.'

The 33-year old's contract expires in the summer, but vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said a new contract will be drawn up as soon as he returns to playing.

Abidal's improved health has been a source of strength for his Barcelona team-mates, who are struggling with the news that coach Tito Vilanova requires further cancer treatment.

Barca for life: Abidal wants to see out his career with the Catalans

Barca for life: Abidal wants to see out his career with the Catalans

Carlo Ancelotti has spoken to Ashley Cole about move to Paris St Germain

Paris match: Cole holds talks with former boss Ancelotti over possible move to PSG

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UPDATED:

18:54 GMT, 9 November 2012

Paris St Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has spoken to Chelsea defender Ashley Cole about a possible switch to the Ligue 1 big spenders, Le 10 sport has reported.

Cole, 31, is in the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge, and with Chelsea offering only one-year deals to players over the age of 30 he has been linked with a move away from London.

And with reports suggesting that PSG could be looking to bring in a replacement for former Inter Milan and Barcelona player Maxwell, who joined the club last year, Cole could link up with his former Chelsea boss in the French capital.

Heading to France Ashley Cole is reported to have spoken to former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti about a possible move to PSG

Heading to France Ashley Cole is reported to have spoken to former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti about a possible move to PSG

According to Le 10 sport, Ancelotti spoke to the England defender about the club's project and wanted to know Cole's thoughts about a possible transfer to France.

Robert Pires, who was a team-mate of Cole's at Arsenal, believes the possibility would interest the left-back, telling the paper: 'Paris could be interesting for him, at a sporting level and a financial level.

Teaming up again: Carlo Ancelotti and Ashley Cole could link up again at PSG after working together at Chelsea

Teaming up again: Carlo Ancelotti and Ashley Cole could link up again at PSG after working together at Chelsea

'I think he could say OK to Paris. The plans attract him, I know him well and I'm sure he is interested.'

Meanwhile, Cole is out of Sunday's match of the weekend against Liverpool.

Cole's hamstring has not recovered and he will miss the game, despite Chelsea's hopes he could be fit.

Ryan Bertrand, who had replaced Cole in the England squad for the game against Sweden next week, is expected to deputise.

Champion of Europe: Cole and Daniel Sturridge celebrate winning the Champions League last season

Champion of Europe: Cole and Daniel Sturridge celebrate winning the Champions League last season

Great Britain keep place open for Anthony Joshua in World Series of Boxing

Great Britain leave door open for Joshua after naming 19-man squad for World Series

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 7 November 2012

Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua has been given extra time to decide whether to join the first Great Britain team in the World Series of Boxing.

The British Lionhearts features a
number of amateur boxers looking to be part of Team GB for the Rio
Olympics in 2016 with middleweight Fred Evans, who won a silver medal at
the London Olympics this summer, arugably the biggest name in the
squad.

Offer: Anthony Joshua (left)

Offer: Anthony Joshua (left)

He is joined by fellow Olympian Andrew Selby who will compete in the bantamweight division with Charlie Edwards and Gamal Yafai.

Heavyweight Frank Clarke and light-heavyweight Lawrence Osueke have also been signed up alongside lightweight trio Joe Cordina, Josh Taylor and Sam Maxwell and Antony Fowler in the welterweight division.

What is the world series of boxing

For the first time boxers will represent countries rather than cities. Professional boxers can compete if they have had fewer than 15 bouts but they can't continue to box professionally.

Each team have a squad of up to 20 boxers, split between the weights. Boxers cannot box on consecutive nights and injured fighters can be replaced.

All boxers are under contract and there is a prize money available. An Olympic medal-winner could earn about 150,000 per season.

Each bout is five three-minute rounds, held at bantamweight, lightweight, middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight.

Judges score the winner of each round rather than merely count punches as in amateur boxing.

The team that wins the most number of bouts wins the meet.

From two groups of six, the top four teams qualify for the quarter-finals, where they fight home and away.

The winners progress to the semi-finals (home and away) and then the finals (neutral venue) in May 2013

Neither Joshua or Luke Campbell, both gold medals winners at the London Games, have signed up to the team.

The British stars will face up against teams from Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the USA in Group B with contests consisting of five fights, at five different weights. There are home and away legs before the top two sides from the two pools featuring in the grand final.

If the Lionhearts manage to reach the final at the first time of asking they could face Argentina, Azerbaijan, India, Mexico, Poland or Russia, the nations who make up Group A.

Fights will consist of five three-minute rounds and, despite being an amateur tournament, no vests or headguards are worn.

The new season begins for the Lionhearts on November 15 when they take on the USA in California.

Despite the new tournament starting in under two weeks, the WSB have just appointed a new chief operating officer in Karim Bouzidi.

Formerly the general manager of French franchise Paris United, Bouzidi is looking forward to moving the series forward. 'I am extremely honored to have been offered this exciting challenge,' he said.

'With new franchises, dozens of London Olympians on board and pro boxers now allowed, I am convinced that this third season will be the most successful to date.

'We want to show the world that WSB is the place to be when it comes to top quality boxing.'

Barry Hearn proposes Leyton Orient change name to London Orient

From Leyton to London: Hearn set to change Orient's name if ground-share with West Ham is accepted

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UPDATED:

23:02 GMT, 4 October 2012

Leyton Orient owner Barry Hearn has revealed that he will change the club’s name to London Orient if their bid to ground-share the Olympic Stadium with West Ham is accepted.

Hearn believes sharing the Olympic Park with the Hammers would be an ideal scenario, and previously said of the proposed ground-share: 'I had a Martin Luther King moment – I had a dream.

'I looked at the Olympic Stadium and said 'why not' [share with West Ham]

Name change: Barry Hearn (left) is considering changing the name of Leyton Orient

Name change: Barry Hearn (left) is considering changing the name of Leyton Orient

If the name change were to go ahead, Orient would not be the only team to have gone for a new-look after moving stadium.

In similar circumstances, when Wimbledon relocated to Milton Keynes in 2003 the team became the MK Dons nine months later – to the disdain of many of their fans.

In 1982, Oxford United were saved from closure when Robert Maxwell bought the club.

The following year Maxwell proposed merging United with their rivals Reading. They were to be named the Thames Valley Royals.

The merger was called off due to outcry from fans of both clubs.

Proposal: West Ham could be set to share the Olympic Stadium with Orient

Proposal: West Ham could be set to share the Olympic Stadium with Orient

World Twenty20 2012: England beat Australia in warm-up

England warm up for World Twenty20 in style as Hales knock helps see off Australia

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UPDATED:

08:43 GMT, 17 September 2012

England had to outdo the class of Michael Hussey to start their ICC World Twenty20 warm-up campaign with a scrambled nine-run victory over Australia at Nondescripts CC.

Stuart Broad's defending champions appeared on track to coast to a fifth successive win this year over their oldest enemy – but that was reckoning without Hussey (71), the vital missing ingredient during England's 4-0 NatWest Series trouncing of Australia on home turf two months ago.

Hussey near single-handedly kept his team's hopes alive, and England sweating, after wrecking young spinner Danny Briggs' figures with three consecutive sixes over mid-wicket.

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

Vital knock: Hales scored 52 off 38 balls in Colombo

SCORECARD

Click here for the full scorecard

With the first, the left-hander brought
up his 45-ball fifty, and he added another boundary too for good measure
in the slow left-armer's final over.

But Broad himself returned to have Hussey lbw, and from there Australia ran out of steam to finish short of 172 for six.

Alex Hales (52) had underpinned that competitive total, after England
were put in on a steamy morning and a stodgy pitch, the tall opener
continuing to fare well in his role as the controversially absent Kevin
Pietersen's replacement.

England were playing their first practice fixture of a tournament which
will begin in earnest for them against minnows Afghanistan at the nearby
Premadasa Stadium on Friday.

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Teeing off: Luke Wright played an impressive cameo role at No 3

Their total twice looked vulnerable here, first in a second-wicket stand
of 74 between Hussey and Shane Watson and then when Australia's most
accomplished batsman was gathering momentum alongside Glenn Maxwell.

Steven Finn thought he had Watson with the first ball of Australia's reply, but his caught-behind hopes came to nought.

Instead, England got David Warner for a duck when he speared a catch to point off Finn.

Watson, however, stayed to hit Finn, Tim Bresnan and Broad for a six
each – the England captain suffering particularly in his opening over,
which contained three wides and cost 14 runs.

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Breakthrough: Australia celebrate the wicket of Craig Kieswetter

Graeme Swann provided the breakthrough England needed when he had Watson
bowled sweeping, and Briggs had Cameron White stumped when he advanced
but got nowhere near the pitch.

England looked in big trouble as Hussey suddenly raced through the
gears, but their worries were soon over once Broad got the big wicket
and the rest could not sustain the challenge. Hales might earlier have
been run out on three, had Warner managed a direct hit from point; he
also offered a tough half-chance to diving wicketkeeper Matthew Wade on
21 off Dan Christian, and escaped a feasible stumping off veteran
spinner Brad Hogg on 34.

But he was responsible for England's early momentum, once he found the
boundary in the fifth over – the first of three fours in four balls off
Clint McKay.

Hales' opening partner Craig Kieswetter mistimed an attempted big hit to
deep mid-off. But Australia contributed to England's total with a
succession of early wides – one of which, from Mitchell Starc, swung
past the wicketkeeper and sped to the boundary.

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Innovative: Morgan contributed a quickfire 30

Hales and Luke Wright shared a second-wicket stand of 88.

Even though George Bailey tried to put the squeeze on by chopping and
changing his bowlers, Wright upped the ante with two reverse-hit fours
and England's first six over mid-wicket off Hogg to bring up the hundred
– only to fall to the last ball of the same over when he picked out
deep square leg.

Hales completed his half-century in 36 balls, but clipped Hogg to mid-wicket to go soon afterwards.

With Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow's expert hitting and placement still
to come, England nonetheless had a total which turned out to be too
much – despite Hussey – for the team they also beat to win their World
Twenty20 title in a Barbados final two years ago.

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad

Key man: Hussey top scored with 71 before being dismissed by Broad
IRELAND EDGE PAST BANGLADESH

Ireland completed their World Twenty20 preparations with a tight five-run win over Bangladesh in Colombo.

Having seen off Zimbabwe last weekend, William Porterfield's side got the better of a higher-class of opposition, successfully defending their 164 for six.

A thrilling 71 from just 41 balls by opener Paul Stirling was the highlight of their innings.

Ed Joyce chipped in with a more considered 39 to boost the total further and, despite a knock of 52 from Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh were unable to reach their target.

The occasional spin of Kevin O'Brien (three for 24) eventually put the skids on their charge, which originally looked as though it would be in pursuit of a higher score when Ireland rattled off 40 runs in the first four overs.

Porterfield was the first man to go as he was run out with the score on 46, with Stirling and Joyce then sharing a second-wicket stand of 64 before the latter was castled by Elias Sunny.

Joyce carried on the charge before being snared by Mashrafe Mortaza who ended with two for 33, as Ireland were unable to open their shoulders over the closing stages of their overs.

Bangladesh's response saw them lose Mohammad Ashraful early on for seven, before a quickfire stand of 63 between Tamim Iqbal and Shakib got them motoring.

But Tamim (35) offered a return catch to Alex Cusack and then Shakib lost his wicket to Nigel Jones as the wheels started to come off.

O'Brien then took three wickets in two overs to really put Ireland in command and, although Ziaur Rahman weighed in with a breezy 26, it was not enough and Bangladesh ended just short on 159 for nine.

Sir Alex Ferguson defends Manchester United owners The Glazer family

Fergie: Back off the Glazers. They're doing a great job! Supporters are still angry over United owners putting club 425m in debt, but manager denies problems

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UPDATED:

23:59 GMT, 21 July 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has launched a passionate defence of the Glazer family, insisting: ‘They have always backed me whenever I have asked them for anything.’

In a far-reaching interview here at the first phase of the team’s strenuous pre-season programme, the Manchester United manager rubbished suggestions that the mountainous debt incurred by the American owners of the club was hampering his buying plans.

‘I’m absolutely comfortable with the Glazers situation. They’ve been great,’ he said. ‘So if you’re asking me for my views, I don’t have any complaints.

Relaxed: Sir Alex Ferguson has no concerns about the Glazer family

Relaxed: Sir Alex Ferguson has no concerns about the Glazer family

‘I’ve never encountered opposition. They’ve always been as sensible as they can be in terms of financing the team, and they have to invest in the team to maintain the value of their asset.’

The fiercely strong anti-Glazer feeling among United’s rank and file following has grown with the recent revelation that the family are trying to float the club on the New York Stock Exchange in order to raise about 200million to help relieve the debt built up in buying United seven years ago.

That currently stands at 423m, with the club having spent more than 500m on interest, debt repayments and fees since 2005.

‘I think there are a whole lot of factions at United that think they own the club,’ said Ferguson. ‘They will always be contentious about whoever owns the club, and that’s the way it has always been.

‘When I came to the club, Martin Edwards was always getting pelted because he was going to sell to [Robert] Maxwell, then to [Rupert] Murdoch, Michael Knighton, and when they became a plc there was disaffection.

In the background: Glazer brothers Avram and Joel shun publicity

In the background: Glazer brothers Avram and Joel shun publicity

‘Then, when the Glazers took over, there was disaffection, so there have always been wee pockets of supporters who have their views… and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think the majority of the real fans will look at it realistically and say it’s not affecting the team. We’ve won four championships since they’ve been there, one European Cup.

‘I think the problem is they [the Glazers] are not publicists. They don’t go out of their way to seek good publicity. They are quite happy to stay in the background. Roman Abramovich is the same.’

United are valued as the richest sports franchise in the world, at 1.5billion, mainly as a result of the efforts of Ferguson, whose haul of 48 trophies since he took over 25 years ago has made him the most successful football manager in British history. And now, giving little indication that his tenure is even close to ending, the 70-year-old Scot is as enthusiastic as ever about the future.

Citing the vast improvements to make the Carrington training complex one of the best in the world as evidence of the Glazers’ investment, he said: ‘Look at what they are spending on the training ground.

Investment: The Glazers have invested 30m into improving United's Carrington Training Ground and new players such as Shinji Kagawa have come into the squad

Investment: The Glazers have invested 30m into improving United's Carrington Training Ground and new players such as Shinji Kagawa have come into the squad

‘It’s going to be fantastic. At the moment it’s a bit of a bombsite, but it’s supposed to be completed by October and we just hope it’s ready on time. They’ll be spending about 30m and its all down to them.’

Ferguson responded to fans’ frustration at the lack of summer transfer activity by insisting he was not prepared to fork out inflated transfer fees. Responding to the fans’ clamour for a 30million-plus signing, he said: ‘Well they can wait!

‘We buy in the right way and that’s the difference between United and the rest — we can play 18-year-olds because it’s part of our history. It’s like a destiny for us that when a young player emerges we play him, and that has never failed us.

Coming to the rescue: Bebe celebrates scoring deep into injury time against Ajax Cape Town

Coming to the rescue: Bebe celebrates scoring deep into injury time against Ajax Cape Town

‘No other clubs can do that. City won’t do it. They definitely won’t play any young players who have come up through the system. Their buys are all 25, 26, 27-year-old established players with a good maturity, experience and good ages. They won’t go away because the age group tells you that. They don’t have any over-30s in their team.

They don’t play any young players and the fans don’t expect any youth players to come through the way we expect them to at United.’

While Chelsea have spent huge amounts to sign the likes of Eden Hazard, the United boss has spent a total of about 20m to bring in Japan forward Shinji Kagawa and teenage midfielder Nick Powell.

Inexperienced side: Antonio Valencia is one of Manchester United's senior players on the pre-season tour as 13 players are still away

Inexperienced side: Antonio Valencia is one of Manchester United's senior players on the pre-season tour as 13 players are still away

‘There is a borderline in terms of what you would think is a good signing for United,’ said Ferguson. ‘I see some values on players, like Hazard for instance. To me it was a lot of money. He’s a good player, but 34m

‘What we’re finding anyway, the climate for buying these top players — not just the transfer fees, [but] the salaries, agent’s fees — is just getting ridiculous now. In the Hazard deal, Chelsea paid the agent 6m. The Nasri situation was the same.

‘It’s all about what you think is value for a player. I am not envious of those deals at all. We placed a value on Hazard which was well below what they were talking about. So if it doesn’t work, well we’re not worried about that. We think we’ve got good value in Kagawa.

Young hope: United spent 4m on Crewe's Nick Powell

Young hope: United spent 4m on Crewe's Nick Powell

‘We scout well. Sometimes we do the scouting for other clubs. The minute the agent knew we’d spoken to Powell, I think every club was in with offers. But we’d done the deal.

‘Whenever we show interest in a player it activates the situation with other clubs. But we’ve done well over the years. We’ve bought well, one or two bad ones, no doubt about that, but you handle that.

‘The big difference is when the academy started 10 years ago we had to change our scouting in terms of abroad. So that’s increased. Looking at countries like Brazil, Mexico and through South America. France, too, we’re all over Europe now.’

Fergie on Retirement

Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that Manchester United will still continue to enjoy great success even after he decides to end his reign as manager.

Asked if he thought there would be life after him at United, he said: ‘Of course. Manchester United are an institution and the history here forces everything.’

Ferguson hinted that any successor would have to have had a wealth of experience managing at the top level. But he scoffed at the idea that following him would be a daunting prospect.

Not ready to go just yet: Ferguson says he still enjoys working at Manchester United

Not ready to go just yet: Ferguson says he still enjoys working at Manchester United

Would he like to follow himself into this job ‘Yes, definitely. Why not It cannot be an impossible job with the structure we have at this club.

‘I don’t think the club will choose a young manager because it is a job that demands experience. The future is absolutely solid. If you look at the team I could play all under 22 or 23, De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Evans. Cleverley, Powell, Chicharito, Lingard, Welbeck, Kagawa. These players will become the United team for the next three or four years.

‘It would not be a daunting prospect to follow me.’

On holiday: Wayne Rooney is not expected back at training until July 26 after playing at Euro 2012

On holiday: Wayne Rooney is not expected back at training until July 26 after playing at Euro 2012

Fergie on Rooney

Wayne Rooney and United’s other top players may not be fully tuned up for the start of the new season because of their summer international commitments.

The club have a comparatively inexperienced squad on their pre-season tour to South Africa and the Far East, with many regulars not due to return to training until later this week.

‘We’ve got 13 players who are not here from the squad,’ said manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

‘Evans, Jones and Vidic are still recovering from operations and treatment for their injuries.

‘With the Euros, Nani, Rooney, Young, Jones, Evra won’t be back until July 26. Then we’ve got four more players (Giggs, Cleverley, De Gea and Rafael) at the Olympic Games. So it is difficult.

‘We’ve bought Shinji Kagawa and we don’t even know who he’s going to be playing with.

‘The rest of the squad won’t be playing until the game against Valerenga on August 5. It’s definitely an awkward feeling.’

Barcelona beat Santos in Club World Cup final

Simply the best! Messi inspires Barca to 4-0 victory over Neymar”s Santos

Lionel Messi scored two goals as Barcelona overwhelmed Brazilian side Santos 4-0 to win its second Club World Cup title in three years.

Messi, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas scored first-half goals as the European champion won its 13th trophy under coach Pep Guardiola and added to its stature as the best club team in the world.

Champions of the world: Barcelona made light work of Santos to take the crown and there followed the now common sight of an airborne pep Guardiola (below)

Champions of the world: Barcelona made light work of Santos to take the crown and there followed the now common sight of an airborne pep Guardiola (below)

Champions of the world: Barcelona made light work of Santos to take the crown and there followed the now common sight of an airborne pep Guardiola (below)

MATCH FACTS

Santos: Barbosa, Edu Dracena, Leo, Durval, Bruno Rodrigo, Danilo (Elano 31), Arouca, Henrique, Ganso (Ibson 83), Borges (Alan Kardec 78), Neymar.

Subs not used: Aranha, Bruno Aguiar, Carvalho, Vinicius, Anderson, Renteria, Para, Diogo, Vladimir.

Booked: Ganso, Edu Dracena.

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique (Mascherano 56), Puyol (Fontas 85), Abidal, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Fabregas, Thiago (Pedro 78).

Subs not used: Pinto, Sanchez, Keita, Jonathan, Maxwell, Adriano, Cuenca, Oier.

Booked: Pique, Mascherano.

Goals: Messi 17, Xavi 24, 82, Fabregas 45.

Attendance: 70,000

Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (Uzbekistan).

“We played a complete game,” Barcelona captain Carles Puyol said. “It was a good game, an intense game and we”re very happy with the result.”

The Champions League winners overwhelmed the South American champions in the first half and got on the scoresheet in the 17th minute when Messi latched on to a through ball from Xavi, controlled it with his right foot, switched to his left and calmly chipped over Santos goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

Xavi doubled the lead just seven minutes later when he took a pass from Dani Alves and beat Cabral with aright-foot shot from 16 meters (yards).

Fabregas put the game beyond reach inthe final minute of the first half, picking up a rebound off a diving header by Thiago and beating Cabral from close range.

Santos looked more lively after the break. Neymar had a good chance in the 57th as he broke free and found himself in the open with only Victor Valdes to beat, but was denied by anice save by the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Double your money: Xavi wheels away and is then mobbed (below) after scoring Barca

Double your money: Xavi wheels away and is then mobbed (below) after scoring Barca”s second

Double your money: Xavi wheels away and is then mobbed (below) after scoring Barca

Messi, who was named the tournament”smost valuable player, completed the scoring in the 82nd when he maneuvered around Cabral and calmly slotted home.

“Barcelona deserved to win,” Neymar said. “They are the best team in the world and we learned an important lesson tonight. We showed our potential and hopefully we will be able tocome back and win this tournament.”

Magic: Messi

Magic: Messi”s first-half strike was a real gem, for which he gave thanks (below)

Magic: Messi

Barcelona won the Club World Cup in 2009, with Messi scoring the winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Argentine Club Estudiantes.

The last time a team from South America won was 2006 when Internacional beat Barcelona.

Head-to-head: Messi came out on top in the eagerly-awaited contest with Santos wonderkid Neymar

Head-to-head: Messi came out on top in the eagerly-awaited contest with Santos wonderkid Neymar

Barcelona was playing without strikerDavid Villa, who broke his left shin bone in his team”s 4-0 win over Qatari side Al-Sadd in the semifinals on Thursday.

Borges gave Santos its first scoring chance in the 27th minute, when he took a pass from Ganso and fired a shot that Valdes smothered. Gerard Pique was given a yellow card in the 38th after knocking Neymar to the ground.

Make mine a treble: Former Gunner Fabregas slides home from close range to score Barca

Make mine a treble: Former Gunner Fabregas slides home from close range to score Barca”s third

Make mine a treble: Former Gunner Fabregas slides home from close range to score Barca