Pachuca clinch bronze medal, beating Al Jazira
Roberto De La Rosa becomes first player born after year 2000 to score
Los Tuzos match best showing by a Mexican side at the tournament
Pachuca clinched bronze at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 after a earning a 4-1 win over Al Jazira at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday.
Second-half strikes from Franco Jara, Roberto De La Rosa and Angelo Sagal were enough to earn the four-time participants their best-ever finish, having seen Khalfan Alrezzi initially cancel out Jonathan Urretaviscaya’s opener.
After a subdued opening, the game burst into life, as a deflection off the head of Mohammed Fayez caught Khaled Al Senaani unawares in the Al Jazira goal. It struck the inside of the post, but Oscar Murillo inexplicably headed over with the gaping goal.
The CONCACAF champions had been prioritising an aerial assault, but Sagal’s quick feet carved a great opening, which was fired narrowly wide. Moments later, opposite number Ali Mabkhout should have made Pachuca pay for their profligacy, but a superb last-ditch block by Omar Gonzalez kept the match scoreless.
The Mexicans took the lead before the break, with Jara’s perfectly-weighted through ball leaving Urretaviscaya with time to pick his spot beyond Al Senaani.
Al Jazira held firm, though, and were back on terms soon after the restart. It took three bites of the cherry, with Romarinho and Mbark Boussoufa both being denied before Alrezzi thumped home. It was short-lived parity, however, as Pachuca broke and Sagal found Jara alongside him, with the No29 making no mistake from 12 yards.
Moments after coming onto the field, De La Rosa netted a third to seal the game for the Mexican outfit. On for less than a minute, the 17-year-old became the first player to even play in the Club World Cup, born after the turn of the millennium, let alone score. Sagal's late penalty put a gloss on the scoreline, as they returned to Mexico with souvenir to cherish.