ABU DHABI – Urawa Reds dominated possession but were unable to capitalize Saturday in their Club World Cup quarterfinal clash with Al Jazira, going down 1-0 to the United Arab Emirates champions.
The Asian champions missed a golden chance in the first half when a Yuki Muto cross found Shinzo Koroki five meters out from goal, but the club’s top scorer put the ball over the bar with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Al Jazira punished Urawa soon after the break when UAE international Ali Mabkhout received a pinpoint through ball from Brazilian Romarinho and calmly slotted home between keeper Shusaku Nishikawa’s legs.
Rafael Silva came close to equalizing for Reds in the 89th minute, but his lunging effort met the outside of the post.
Urawa manager Takafumi Hori said the team was disappointed to miss out on a semifinal meeting with Spanish giant Real Madrid, but had already turned its attention to the fifth-place playoff against Wydad Casablanca on Tuesday.
“I think we felt the heat a bit after falling behind and mistakes started to increase as we tired,” Hori said.
“It’s a real shame for the players and fans that we won’t get the chance to play Real Madrid. You don’t get many opportunities to do that.”
“But we have to take this result on the chin. We know we still have another match (for 5th place) and have to try and prepare ourselves as best we can.”
African champion Wydad was edged out of the quarters by Mexican powerhouse Pachuca. Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda played the full 120 minutes as the CONCACAF champions ground out a 1-0 extra-time win over the Moroccan side.
Honda fired narrowly wide of goal soon after halftime, but it was a 112th-minute effort from Victor Guzman that proved the difference in the tightly fought contest.
Pachuca faces Brazil’s Gremio in an all-Americas semifinal on Tuesday.