Guadalajara manager Jose Cardozo apologises for 'embarrassing' defeat to Kashima Antlers at Fifa Club World Cup

Guadalajara's coach Jose Cardozo speaks to his players during the second round match of the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 football tournament between Japan's Kashima Antlers and Mexico's C.D. Guadalajara at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on December 15, 2018. / AFP / Giuseppe CACACE
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The Guadalajara manager Jose Cardozo described defeat to Japan’s Kashima Antlers on Saturday in their Fifa Club World Cup quarter-final as “painful” and “embarrassing”.

The Mexican side had taken the lead after only three minutes through Angel Zaldivar but conceded three second-half goals and a late Kashima own goal came to late in the match for Cardozo's side to force the game into extra time.

Cardozo said his team had switched off after leading at the interval, costing them a semi-final showdown against two-time reigning champions Real Madrid.

“We did a lot of hard work to reach the Club World Cup and then a lot of hard work to prepare for this game,” he said. “I’m the head coach and the one responsible for this result. The players did everything they could but we lost concentration in the second half."

Zaldivar's goal had given the Conmebol champions the best possible start, the striker heading in a Isaac Brizeula.

But it was Kashima who started the second half brighter, and were rewarded when Ryota Nagaki turned in a Shoma Doi cross four minutes after the restart. A Serginho penalty on 69 minutes gave the Asian Champions League winners the lead for the first time at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, and was extended when Hiroke Abe curled home a fine effort six minutes from time.

Guadalajara were awarded a penalty on the stroke of full time after Jair Pereira was fouled in the Kashima penalty area. Sun Tae Kwon saved Alan Pulido's initial effort before the rebound was turned in via a deflection off Hugo Leonardo but it was a mere consolation effort.

“We played well in the first half,” Cardozo said. “We scored an early goal and we were well organised. We had ball possession but in the second half they scored very early.

“We lost our concentration and lost our way after the equaliser. We tried to do things in a hurry and then start to lose control of the game.

“I always said to my players if they lose possession it becomes very difficult to play. That’s what happened in the second half.”

Cardozo apologised to the travelling Guadalajara fans. “The fans have every reason to complain against me because some of them made the long journey to watch us play,” he said.

“We didn’t give them what they expected. It’s embarrassing for us because we are the biggest team in Mexico. I feel for those who travelled all the way to be behind us.

“It’s embarrassing for us, especially for me, as the head coach. It’s very painful for me.

“Our dream was to win this game and meet Real Madrid. But that didn’t happen. But what we need to look ahead is to have a more competitive team than what we have.”

Cardozo still took some positives from their game by saying his young squad will learn from the experience.

“We qualified for this tournament with this squad and there is no reason why we should blame any of them," he said.

“If there is anyone to blame it is me, because I’m in charge and responsible for the result. We have one more game we’ll try to win that and go out on a high. That’s the next best we can do.”


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