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FIFA Club World Cup 2017

Guzman heads Pachuca into semis

(FIFA.com)
  • Extra-time goal sends Pachuca to UAE 2017 semis
  • Victor Guzman gets the winner with back-post header
  • Wydad play an hour down to ten men after captain Brahim Nakach received second yellow card

Victor Guzman saw Pachuca come out on top during a razor-tight encounter against a ten-man Wydad Casablanca in the opening second round clash of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.

It took 120 minutes to separate the sides, with the No5 heading home after the Moroccan side were forced to play a man light following Brahim Nakach's red card.

The African champions began brightly, with pace and movement across the front bamboozling Pachuca in the early stages. But, once the veterans of four Club World Cups found their feet, it was the Mexican side creating the clearest chances.

Guzman and Angelo Sagal were the principle threats, creating unease for the vocal Wydad fans inside the Zayed Sports City Stadium, as they continued to probe down the right flank. Clear cut chances were at a real premium for both sides, however.

After the break it was Pachuca who started the strongest, with Keisuke Honda firing narrowly wide, but the Casablanca side went even closer. An injection of pace down the Wydad left in the shape of Ismail El Haddad almost paid instant dividends, as he burst forward only to see a chipped effort from the left hit the top of the bar.

Any momentum the Africans had begun to build was brought to a shuddering halt after a reckless challenge by Nakach earned his second yellow of the night just after the hour mark. Even so, it wasn’t until the final five minutes of normal time that Pachuca began to turn the screw.

Their pressure did not tell, though, as the game went into extra-time. Guzman, who had earlier tested Zouhair Laaroubi with a low volley, hit the target again with a near-post header as the flow of the game remained blue and white.

That pressure finally told with eight minutes to go as a slide-rule Jorge Hernandez pass released Jonathan Urretaviscaya down the right, cutting his cross back to be headed home at the far post by the deserving Guzman.

Pachuca will lock horns with Gremio in an all-Americas meeting in Al Ain on 12 December.

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