Toyota: Sanfrecce Hiroshima failed to advance to the semi-finals of the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup after going down 2-1 to African champions Al Ahly at the Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
A roller-coaster first half began with Sanfrecce's first-choice
goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa stretchered off with a facial injury with
just four minutes played after being involved in a collision with bulky
Al Ahly striker Gedo.
Striker Elsayad Hamdi then helped Al Ahly take the lead inthe 15th
minute, converting a pass from Ahmed Fathi before beating Sanfrecce's
substitute goalkeeper Takuya Masuda, who didn't play a single J.League
game this term.
J.League Player of the Year Hisato Sato then equalised in the 32nd
minute after he got behind the Al Ahly defence and hit a right-footed
shot that deflected in off goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy but Al Ahly's
four-World Cup-veteran Mohamed Aboutrika, who came on as a substitute,
took a pass from Fathi and scored the winning goal that set a semi-final
clash with South American champions Corinthians of Brazil on Wednesday.
"In the second half we lost our concentration, the team was tired.
Despite that we still managed to create some good chances, but
unfortunately we didn't make the most of them," said Sanfrecce coach
"Now we'll prepare for the match for fifth place against Ulsan
Hyundai as best we can. We want to continue to play well here on the
international stage. We've picked up a lot of valuable experience
against physically strong teams here and have seen that we're able to
compete with them."
Sanfrecce will battle it out in the fifth place match also on
Wednesday against the AFC Champions League winners, who were defeated
3-1 by South American champions Monterrey of Mexico.