Fifa Club World Cup UAE: Monterrey finish in fifth place

Monterrey's Cesar Montes. — AFP file
Monterrey's Cesar Montes. — AFP file

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Wed 9 Feb 2022, 9:26 PM

Concacaf kings Monterrey beat local champions Al Jazira 3-1 in the fifth-place match of the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The home team entered the match after a 6-1 disappointing loss to Saudi side Al Hilal, and there were fewer Al Jazira supporters at the Al Nahyan Stadium.

Hoping to put a smile back on the faces of their fans with a win, Al Jazira coach Marcel Keizer initiated four changes to his side that played the Asian champions Al Hilal — young Zayed Sultan and Salem Rashid were brought in to defend the Mexican charge, and attackers Zayed Al Ameri and Oumar Traore made it to the starting line-up in the hope of scoring a winning goal.

But from the opening minute, it was Monterrey who dominated. Winger Maximiliano Meza constantly made some threatening runs into the Al Jazira box and the early attacks gave the visitors the momentum. And the ‘Pride of Abu Dhabi’ suffered the worst of starts by conceding in just three minutes, unfortunately, a chaotic mix-up resulting in an own goal by Sultan, which was confirmed through goal-line technology.

On 11 minutes, an unmarked striker Rogelio Funes doubled the advantage by converting from a fine cross from Meza. And on 25 minutes, centre-back Cesar Montes made it 3-0 with a solid header coming through a set-piece delivery.

Even as Al Jazira tried to keep possession and look for opportunities, a determined Monterrey maintained their stranglehold and showed great intent to win. The home side tried to be creative in their attack but were always stopped in their tracks by the Mexican back-four of Stefan Medina, Cesar Montes, Hector Moreno and Erick Aguirre.

On 36 minutes, Al Jazira’s best chance of the half came through a powerful shot from Traore, which went past Monterrey’s keeper Esteban Andrada, but crashed onto the post. The rebound went to lone striker Ahmed Al Attas, who took his time but struck straight to the Argentinian custodian’s hands. The difference in the half was Monterrey converted from both their shots on the goal and Al Jazira failed to find the target. Playing their third match in seven days, the UAE Pro League champions lacked the bite in their fight to score and force a positive outcome. They put an improved display in the second half but couldn’t make any dangerous forays to challenge Monterrey. In the dying minutes, there was something to cheer for the home side as substitute Bruno de Oliveira pulled one back to make it 3-1.

The fifth-place finish is Monterrey’s third time in the tournament, making them the only team in the history to do so.

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