Mexican wave batters Al Jazira

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Mexican wave batters Al Jazira
Jonathan Urretaviscaya (right) of CF Pachuca scores past Al Jazira goalkeeper Khaled Al Senaani during the Fifa Club World Cup third place play-off in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Abu Dhabi - A brace from Angelo Sagal and one each from Franco Jara and Jonathan Urretaviscaya helped the Concacaf champions secure a maiden podium finish

By Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 8:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Dec 2017, 11:04 PM

There was no final hurrah as Mexican side CF Pachuca thrashed home team Al Jazira 4-1 in the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2017 third-place match at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday night.
A brace from Angelo Sagal and one each from Franco Jara and Jonathan Urretaviscaya helped the Concacaf champions secure a maiden podium finish.
Khalfan Mubarak scored for Al Jazira as the UAE club finished a creditable fourth - the best by any team in the country.
In the absence of inspiring captain Ali Khaseif, it was Khaled Al Senani who wore the gloves. Al Jazira made a few changes to the line-up that played against Real Madrid. Defender Saif Khalfan and midfielder Khalfan Mubarak replaced defenders Khalifa Mubarak and Mohamed Ayed. It was a pedestrian start to a high-voltage game and as always Al Jazira players were slow out of the blocks. The home players seemed terribly tired and yet to recover from the Real match.
CF Pachuca players were sublime with their passing game. Strikers Jara and Sagal, the Argentina-Chile pair, coordinated well with Uruguayan winger Urretaviscaya to keep Al Senani and defence busy.
The first real chance fell in the 12th minute to Erick Sanchez but Pachuca midfielder shot wide. Four minutes later Jara was denied by the post and Colombian defender Oscar Murillo missed with a low header into an empty goal. And following a set-play, an effective Sagal had one whiz past Al Senani.
Amid a wave of attacks, Al Jazira managed one of its own as Ali Mabkhout and Romarinho combined to go forward in 31 minutes but the Emirati striker couldn't find the range. Al Jazira played in the same defensive mode as they did against Real and lacked intensity and intent.
In the 37th minute, Pachuca's persistence paid off as Urretaviscaya caught defenders Fares Juma and Saif Khalfan napping. There was a nice breeze blowing and Al Jazira defenders seemed to be in a nice slumber. And an alert Urretaviscaya netted with deftest of left-footed touch into the goal. No wonder he is nicknamed 'Rayo' (lightning). Pachuca ended the half-time with a goal advantage.
Just five minutes into the second-half, the stadium came alive as Juma and Jara got physical and it turned nasty. The altercation did add spice to the contest. And in the 57th minute Al Jazira equalised through Khalfan Mubarak. Midfielder Romarinho dribbled his way past the defence into the box and had a go but was blocked by keeper Alfonso Blanco. Then Mbark Boussoufa went for it but missed and Mubarak drilled it from right flank.
However, just three minutes later the visitors easily regained the lead as Jara struck a woofer. The Pachuca striker, unchecked, connected on a fine cross to make it 2-1. The Concacaf champions continued to maintain pressure and by now Al Jazira had started to move ahead with a sense of urgency.
In the 78th minute there was an interesting substitution as both teams took out their goal scorers.
Ahmed Rabia replaced Mubarak and Roberto de la Rosa came in for Jara. And the Mexican sub immediately scored negating the offside trap with ease.
And in the 84th minute, Pachuca slammed the door shut with a penalty conversion. Defender Salim Rashid was found guilty of bringing down Erick Sanchez. And Sagal made it 4-1 as he drilled ball to right corner and ended the night on a high.
'Los Tuzos' had played two 120-minute extra-time matches and finally return with some consolation. The Mexican side improved on their best-ever fourth-spot finish in 2008. The victory coming without in-form Victor Guzman makes it more special.
For Al Jazira, this tournament has been a revelation of sorts. Despite the result, the 'Pride of Abu Dhabi' can hold their heads high.
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com



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