It is the match no-one wants to be involved in. Yet, having seen their dreams of glory dashed at the quarter-final stage, Monterrey and Esperance have a chance to redeem themselves and exit on a high in tomorrow’s fifth-place play-off.
Monterrey-Esperance, Toyota Stadium, Wednesday 14 December 2011, 16:30 (local time)
Both sides must still be wondering where it all went wrong on Sunday. Esperance thoroughly dominated their match against Al-Sadd, but despite carving out a plethora of glaring opportunities, scored just a single goal to the two of their Asian rivals. The Tunisians’ lively attacking duo of Youssef Msakni and Yannick Ndjeng will again be worth watching, but they and their team-mates cannot afford to be as profligate if they are to reward their passionate travelling support with a victory.
Like their African opponents, Monterrey looked in complete control for the opening 25 minutes of their quarter-final later the same day. Ultimately, however, they could have had few complaints at losing out to Kashiwa Reysol, who finished the stronger and then held their nerve better during the climactic penalty shootout. Humberto Suazo at least chipped in with his first goal at a FIFA tournament, and the Mexicans will again look to their Chilean talisman to unlock the Esperance rearguard.
14 - Suazo was the third Chilean player to find the net in a FIFA Club World Cup and follows in the footsteps of countrymen Cristian Montecinos, who scored twice in 2000, and Ricardo Rojas, who was on target at Japan 2006. Incidentally, all three found the net for Mexican clubs, with Montecinos scoring in the colours of Necaxa, and Rojas registering for Club America.
"As we have lost, we now have to play in the 'losers' game, but as professionals we want to play our best possible match. We played well (against Kashiwa) and we want to do the same in this game. We will give everything. We're happy to be part of this tournament and I am sure the players will learn from this experience," Victor Vucetich, Monterrey coach.
"Defeat to Al-Sadd was very hard to swallow, but we are professionals and we must overcome this situation. The job for us now is to concentrate for the next game (against Monterrey), and of course we will be motivated for that challenge," Banana Yaya, Esperance defender.