Fifa Club World Cup: Esperance de Tunis and Guadalajara aim to leave UAE on high note in fifth-place play-off

Managers of both sides lambasted their players after defeat in the quarter-finals but have demanded focus in the consolation match

Al-Ain's midfielder Hussein el-Shahat (1st-R) fights for the ball with ES Tunis' midfielder Franck Kom (2nd-R) during the second round match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 football tournament between Tunisia's Esperance Tunis and Kashima Antlers and Abu Dhabi's al Ain at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 15, 2018.  / AFP / Karim Sahib
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Esperance de Tunis manager Mouine Chabaani and Guadalajara counterpart Jose Cardozo have both urged their players to shrug off their respective Fifa Club World Cup quarter-final disappointments when the two sides meet in the fifth-place play-off on Tuesday.

CAF Champions League winners Esperance were thrashed by tournament hosts Al Ain 3-0 in the last round, leading Chabaani to criticise his team for a “disappointing and humiliating result”. Cardozo was equally unhappy with Guadalajara’s efforts in their quarter-final, describing the Central American champions’ 3-1 defeat to Asian Champions League holders Kashima Antlers as “embarrassing”.

However, Esperance and Guadalajara have an opportunity to depart Abu Dhabi on a positive note, with the winner of their meeting at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium securing fifth place.


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“We really are disappointed not to play in the semi-finals but we still want to leave with our heads held high,” Chabaani said. “Our preparation for this fifth-place match over Guadalajara is more of a mental problem.

“It’s is all about motivating our players to regain their composure and play as they did when we won the CAF title. They have to realise they are the CAF champions.

“It was a very difficult to stomach the defeats for both teams,” Chabaani added. “I expected a better performance from my team and of course our fans. We owe our fans something and hopefully deliver with a victory.”

Esperance midfielder Ayman ben Mohamed echoed his manager’s sentiments, and believes anything less than a vastly improved performance against Guadalajara will result in more disappointment.

“Perhaps, Al Ain were the better team on the day, and that’s how we can think of that game,” he said. “Obviously we’ll have to raise our game when we play Guadalajara.”


Al Ain's win over Esperance de Tunis in pictures


Cardozo has taken a very similar stance to Chabaani, and has demanded hi Guadalajara players forget about their quarter-final loss and focus on Esperance.

“This is football,” he said. “We have to put behind our frustrations and carry on with the games we have. We are playing for our prestige.

“We have to finish in the best possible way. All the team players who will be figuring in the match tomorrow should know we must restore our pride with a good result.

“We will make some changes for tomorrow’s match because we have a few tired players. This game is between two continents and we expect a close game.”

Guadalajara defender Miguel Ponce also urged his teammates to bounce back from their defeat to Kashima, and leave the UAE on a high note.

“We want to win this match and at least take something away from this tournament. I hope we can play well in the 90 minutes to do that.”