Ten Cate Proud of Al Jazira’s Real Challenge

Ten Cate Proud of Al Jazira’s Real Challenge
2.5 5

Published December 14th, 2017 - 14:33 GMT via SyndiGate.info

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies for the header with al-Jazira's Emirati defender Musallem Fayez (C) and Emirati forward Ali Mabkhout (R) during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final match in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on December 13, 2017.
GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) vies for the header with al-Jazira's Emirati defender Musallem Fayez (C) and Emirati forward Ali Mabkhout (R) during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final match in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on December 13, 2017. GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP

Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate could only express pride after his side very nearly upset Real Madrid before losing 2-1 in the semi-final of the Fifa Club World Cup at Zayed Sports City on Wednesday.

Romarinho put the hosts ahead before the interval after keeper Ali Khaseif had made seven sensational saves, and Real had two goals disallowed from Karim Benzema and Casemiro.

It was then the turn of Al Jazira to have a goal ruled out from Mbark Bousoufa just after the break, before Khaseif went off injured and normality was restored with goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

“I’m very proud of my team, they did an amazing job for the small club that we are, and they put the UAE on the map, this is something special,” said the Dutchman.

“In football a lot is possible but miracles only happen once in 100 years,” he added. “We had to defend and there’s little space to attack because of the quality in the field, the difference is too big, but I can only be proud with the way they fought all the time, and stayed in the game.

“Of course, we needed luck — and the keeper was brilliant in the first half, I’m sorry he had to come off injured in the second — but this is what you need on those rare occasions that you play on a stage like this.

“I just told them before the game to enjoy it, this is a rare occasion for you guys and it might never happen again, so enjoy the moment and try to do your best and this is what they did.

“Our tactics worked excellently and I was looking in disbelief when we scored the second because I realised it wasn’t going to be easy for Real to come back. Time was against Real and they weren’t really lucky to be honest, but this is football.”

Of that second goal from Bousoufa that was ruled offside using Video Assistant Refereeing (VARs), he said: “I’d love it if it [VARs] didn’t work because then we would have been 2-0 up.

“But no, it’s OK, the best team went through and I hope we’re going to see two fantastic matches now, us in the third place play-off and Real against Gremio in the final. These two deserve to be in the final.

“At the end of the game, we had conceded, our power had gone, and we were tired, because we are not used to games like this. It was logical that they were going to score, but I’m just happy it stayed 2-1 because it could have been at least three or four. This gives a better feel.”

On Saturday’s third-place play-off against Pachuca, he added: “First we are going to relax after this game because my players are dead, so they deserve to relax, me as well, then we will prepare for the next game.”

By Ashley Hammond

© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2017. All rights reserved.

Add a new comment

Avatar