Smaller teams leave their mark on Club World Cup

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Smaller teams leave their mark on Club World Cup
The UAE side Al Jazira managed to give jitters to champions Real.

Abu Dhabi - Conmebol Copa Libertadores champions Gremio, Concacaf Champions League winners CF Pachuca and Arabian Gulf League holders Al Jazira all ended the tournament with their best-ever finishes

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sun 17 Dec 2017, 8:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Dec 2017, 3:30 PM

Lesser known continental champions grabbed the opportunity to shine and make a mark in the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017.
Conmebol Copa Libertadores champions Gremio, Concacaf Champions League winners CF Pachuca and Arabian Gulf League holders Al Jazira all ended the tournament with their best-ever finishes.
Runners-up Gremio gave a good account of their fighting powers only to be undone by the brilliance of Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in the second-half of the finals.
The Brazilian side lacked teeth in attack but coach of the tournament debutants lauded his fighters.
"We are very sorry and sad. Real Madrid were better side but not that much superior. We lost the finals but keep our heads high. Our main two-three players weren't up to the mark. These small details make a difference," Renato Portaluppi said and added that too many matches in the season had left his players exhausted. "I am proud of them. We leave with our head high," the coach added.
Meanwhile, third-placed CF Pachuca's 'competition animals' will be back soon for championship, promised Diego Alonso.
"We are very ambitious. We came for something else but this is the best way to end the Club World Cup. We are happy to be third and on the podium among the top clubs of the world."
Alonso lauded his players who recovered from two 120-minute matches to thrash Al Jazira 4-1.
"These players are competition animals. I can assure you we are not going to stop until we are crowned world champions," Alonso said.
The UAE side Al Jazira, the tortoise in the journey, finished fourth. The debutants managed to give jitters to champions Real.
Henk ten Cate said his player fought very well and he was proud of them.
"If someone would have told me before the tournament that we would be playing for third or fourth place I wouldn't have believed it. I am so proud of how far we've come in this tournament and I am so proud of my players," he added.
Now it's a wait for each of these teams and rest to prepare and be in the mix for Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2018.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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