Monterrey will square off against Egypt's Al Ahly in the FIFA Club World Cup's match for fifth place on December 18, 2013, in Marrakesh, Morocco. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
MARRAKESH, Morocco – With the wound of a 2-1 extra-time loss to Raja Casablanca in the FIFA Club World Cup quarterfinals still fresh, Monterrey will look to complete its participation in the tournament on Wednesday with a win against Egypt’s Al Ahly in the fifth-place match at Stade de Marrakesh.
“There is bitterness, sadness, there is a debt to our fans, to ourselves, but we cannot stop to mourn,” Monterrey head coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz said. “Our course continues. We must face reality, this is a new experience and we should not be left on the floor. We feel sad, we had expectations to reach the semifinals and final. We tried with all our desire, but it has not been possible and this situation leaves us ill.”
There is familiarity between Monterrey, competing in its third consecutive Club World Cup, and five-time qualifier Al Ahly, which dropped a 2-0 decision to China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in the quarterfinals.
They met in the same competition a year ago in Yokohama, Japan, as Jesus Corona and Cesar Delgado scored a goal each to give the three-time CONCACAF champion a 2-0 win to finish third.
A rematch, especially in the fifth place match, wasn’t what Omar Arellano had in mind when he arrived in Morocco, but that is the task at hand.
“Of course the goal was not to come around to meet [Al Ahly in the fifth place match], it was to come to look for more than the third place a year ago,” said the 26-year-old midfielder. “We did not reach [our goals], you have to work harder and look for fifth place. There is no choice.”
Al Ahly will try to send legendary midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika into retirement with a win and there’s no guarantee there will be a return to the competition in the near future with the Egyptian league still suspended.
It is unclear when Monterrey will make its next appearance in the Club World Cup either, since it failed to qualify for the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“Monterrey have achieved so much on a global level and that’s going to give us all the motivation we need to get back to the top again,” Arellano told FIFA.com.