Beaten semi-finalists Monterrey of Mexico and Al-Ahly of Egypt will meet in the FIFA Club World Cup match for third-place in Yokohama on Sunday, an intriguing undercard to the tournament’s grand finale between Chelsea and Corinthians later in the day.
Al-Ahly - Monterrey, International Yokohama Stadium
Sunday 16 December 2012, 16.30 (local time)
Both sides will be licking their wounds after losing their semi-final clashes, Al-Ahly going down to Brazil’s Corinthians and Monterrey being beaten handily by EPL giants Chelsea. Aside from bragging rights and a place on the podium, there is the question of cold, hard cash to consider. The third-place winner takes home 2,500,000 USD, half a million more than the fourth-place finisher.
The Egyptian outfit is a loose collection of talented individual players, and they gave Corinthians a run for their money in Toyota in the semi-final. But they failed to click in the final attacking positions and finished the day without scoring a goal, despite the best efforts of super-sub and attacking talisman Mohamed Aboutrika.
Monterrey, for their part, looked frightened of Premier League opponents Chelsea in their semi-final. They backed off and defended deep, and they were punished for it. The Mexicans showed glimpses of their talent in the dying moments of the first-half, but they never looked a threat to the Stamford Bridge side.
4 – The number of goals scored by Aboutrika in FIFA Club World Cup history. Aside from the winning goal he scored in the quarter-final victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima here at the 2012 finals, he grabbed three in the 2006 event when Al-Ahly finished third. If he finds the net against Monterrey on Sunday, he would become top-scorer in the tournament’s history, with one more goal than Lionel Messi and Denilson.
“We showed too much respect to Chelsea in our semi-final. Now we need to turn over a new leaf and focus on this last game against Al-Ahly. We want third place and we’re going to give everything to win it. It’ll be a very important match for us, that’s how we’re looking at it,” Monterrey striker Aldo De Nigris
“Our aim now is an obvious one, to finish in third-place, the best position that we can attain. We have really enjoyed our time here in Japan and the people have welcomed us warmly, and now we want to repay their hospitality with a good performance,” Al-Ahly coach Hossam El Badry