Al Ain: Kashima Antlers coach Go Oiwa is determined to go one better against Real Madrid in Wednesday’s semi-final of the Fifa Club World Cup, after losing 4-2 to Los Blancos in the 2016 final.
Two years ago the Japanese not only became the first Asian side to reach the final, but also took Real beyond 90 minutes, before Cristiano Ronaldo completed his hat-trick with a brace in extra time.
“In 2016 we made a great impact against Madrid and wanted to win,” said Oiwa, speaking after his side came back from an early goal down to beat Mexico’s Guadalajara 3-2 in Saturday’s quarter-final in Al Ain.
“We were disappointed but this time we now have a stage to show our disappointment. We won today and that’s pleasing, so this next match will garner a lot of attention and we will be able to show what we couldn’t today, which is to play our own football from beginning to end against Real.”
Angel Zaldivar put Guadalajara ahead on three minutes before goals from Ryota Nagaki, Serginho and Hiroki Abe pulled it back for the Antlers after the break. Alan Pulido then got a late penalty for Chivas to set up a nervy finish.
“We lost a goal at an early stage and the players started playing the way Guadalajara wanted us to play. At half-time I spoke about positioning and our approach and reminded them of the many supporters who were present. We spoke about fighting spirit and tactics, and in the second half we improved collectively with defence and great offence.”
Given that five of the squad who played against Real were in the team that fought back against Guadalajara, Oiwa said experience was key.
“That gave us security and peace of mind to be able to draw from this experience, especially for our younger players. I’ll continue to use this experience for that reason, and I’ll choose a starting 11 against Real based on this and our analysis.”
Of their chances against Real, he said: “Madrid is Madrid, they are strong, but against such strength we will be solid and aggressive in our fighting, and yes we do hope to proceed to the final.”
Guadalajara coach Jose Cardozo said: “We had 45 minutes of glory but then lost our way. I’m responsible for that. The players put in a lot of effort and this is very painful.
“In the first half we played very well. It wasn’t difficult for us as we had possession and scored early. In the break I said stay patient and keep playing the same way, but suddenly they scored against us and we lost concentration, we lost our way, and they took advantage of that.
“We lost a lot of easy balls and our opponent had mental strength, we started losing the ball and not getting possession, without possession it’s difficult.
“The fans are right to complain because they travelled all this way and we didn’t give them what they expected. We are the largest team in Mexico and not to give them victory is an embarrassment, especially for me as head of the team, but we have to carry on.
“It’s an important experience for young players. Our dream was to win and play Real, it didn’t happen, in the future we will reinforce and be much more competitive.”