Fifa Club World Cup: Nine-man Esperance de Tunis claim fifth after shootout win over Guadalajara
CAF Champions League winners fight back from early deficit to draw, before clinching victory in a lengthy penalty shootout
Mouine Chaabani, the Esperance de Tunis manager, said his players had redeemed themselves for the “suffering” they felt in their opening loss to Al Ain, after securing fifth place in the Fifa Club World Cup.
The African champions beat Guadalajara 6-5 on penalties, after an ill-tempered playoff match that they had finished with nine men, after two players were shown red cards.
The sides had ended the 90 minutes level at 1-1. Both goals came via the penalty spot, and required long consultations with the Video Assistant referee.
Walter Sandoval put the Mexican side ahead after five minutes, following Sameh Derbali’s foul on Angel Zaldivar.
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Mohammed Belail levelled from the spot, after Jose Carlos Van Rankin, the Guadalajara full back, had blocked Franck Kom’s volley from a corner with his arm.
Anice Badri and Houcine Rebai were both sent off in the second half. Chamseddine Dhaouadi, the Esperance defender, was lucky to avoid the same fate. He made the most of his reprieve, as he scored the winning penalty for the Tunisian side.
“The players and the coaching team were suffering after the first match, and we are sorry for that result,” Chaabani said, reflecting on the 3-0 quarter-final loss to Al Ain.
“But in football, everything moves quickly. After you lose your first match, you have lost ambitions, by I urged the players to push themselves to the limit, and show their genuine performance.
“This has been a rich experience for the players. I have only four players who played in the World Cup [for Tunisia in the summer], so to play in a tournament of this level is added value for our players.”
Chaabani, who has been in charge of Esperance since 2014, said he had been tough on his players after the defeat to Al Ain.
“The past days were difficult for us, very slow days in terms of mental preparation," Chaabani said.
“I was so tough with the players, but today I have to thank them for their performance because, honestly, we played the match with nine by the last minute.
“They were excellent on the field, had full focus in the penalty kicks, and I am so pleased by the performance.”
Jose Cardozo, the Guadalajara manager, said he was proud of his side, despite finishing sixth out of the seven sides in the Club World Cup.
“We played a very good match, and did not lose the match,” Cardozo, the Paraguayan in charge of Guadalajara said.
“We lost by a penalty, no more. They are lucky kicks. We have suffered from bad luck, but in general our performance is above average.
“We realised our ambitions to play in this competition, and we played very well. We planned to make our fans happy, but this is football.”
Updated: December 18, 2018 10:39 PM