Al Ain: There is nothing but pride at stake as ES Tunis take on Guadalajara in the fifth place encounter at the Fifa Club World Cup at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday. The action starts at 5.30pm.
Tunis were stunned by hosts Al Ain 3-0 in the quarter-finals while Guadalajara were shown the door by Japanese side Kashima Antlers, rallying from a goal down to win 3-2.
“We are disappointed not qualifying for semis and hence the preparation for this encounter is more for mental issues and not physical,” said Tunis manager Mouine Chaabani, adding that the side has let down the fans who had turned up in large numbers and they want to give them some joy by signing off from here with a win.
“We were expecting a better result from that match. It became difficult because of the early two goal that we conceded. The referees also committed mistakes and that hurt us and he should have been assisted by the first assistant referee. Anyway, Al Ain deserved to win and now it is all about motivating our players. They have to realise they are the CAF Champions and we have to support them to do well.”
Chaabani rated Guadalajara as a well-balanced side.
“Guadalajara had a chance to finish the match early in the first half after they took the lead but then they let Kashima come back into the game and win. Our contest with them is going to be a keenly contested one,” said Chaabani, whose Irish left-back Ayman Ben Mohammad went on to reveal that the mood in the camp is sombre following the loss.
“It was very difficult to take that loss. Look, we expected a better performance from the side including me. We didn’t show how we performed in CAF. Obviously, Al Ain was the better team on the day. I think we felt more disappointed for the fan and I think with this game we can restore some pride,” said Mohammad.
Guadalajara manager Jose Cardoza said that his team too were feeling the pain of not progressing in the tournament but the need of the hour was to put that behind them.
“The pain is there as the team has not achieved its goal. We have to carry on as there is a match. We have to think that now we are playing for our prestige,” he said.
“We have to finish in the best possible way. All the team players who will be figuring in the match tomorrow should know they are there on merit. We will be making some changes and will be only having players who are 100 per cent chance. It is continent against continent so it is going to be a demanding encounter.”
Guadalajara defender Miguel Ponce revealed that the players are all the more determined after the setback and want to sign off from here on a high.
“It will be a revenge match for us after the pain that we have gone through,” he said. “We want to win the match and at least take something away from this tournament. I hope we can play well in the 90 minutes to do that.”