Goalkeeper Luis Cardenas was the hero, scoring and saving a penalty as Monterray defeated Al Hilal 4-3 on penalties to claim third spot at the Club World Cup.
The Asian Champions had the upper hand in the early exchanged and opened the scoring just after the half hour mark. Yasser Al-Shahrani whipped in a trademark cross, picking out Carlos Eduardo who stole in between the defenders and planting a header into the bottom corner.
Moments later Eduardo again was picked out this time by Mohammed Al-Breik, however his header was well palmed away by Monterray reserve keeper Cardenas. Al Hilal enjoyed a purple patch midway through the first half and could have easily been 3-0 up. This time Omar Khrabin thwarted by Luis Cardenas.
With a minute left in the half, Monterray surged forward in search of a leveler. The ball dropped perfectly for Maximiliano Meza, but the Argentine midfielder failed to connect with the shot, eventually being gathered by Abdullah Al-Mayouf.
Nine minutes into the second half Monterray were level thanks in part to an error from Al-Mayouf. The Al Hilal keeper flapped at a cross, punching the ball to Jonathan Urretaviscaya who nodded the ball back into the box. Arturo González timed his run perfectly and headed the ball into an empty net.
Monterray were in the ascendancy, and took the lead just five minutes later. A quick attacking transition saw Zaldivar in plenty of space on the left wing, a quick pass to Maximiliano Meza and a deft touch before rolling the ball in the corner was enough to see the Mexican side go 2-1 up.
It didn’t last however, as six minutes later Al Hilal drew level as substute Batifimi Gomis planted a header goal wards. A fumble from Luis Cardenas saw the ball roll over the line. The Asaian Chamions had fought back.
The contest opened up in the second half, with both sides pushing for a winner. Hilal attacker Sebastian Giovinco saw his long range strike pushed over the cross bar. Whilst the introduction of Rogelio Funes Mori revitalized the Monterray attack, a dipping shot moments after his introduction set the tone.
Gomis had two quickfire chances at the death to settle the contest in regular time. First a shot cannoning off the post, followed up with a header then skipped just wide. Penalties would settle the contest.
Hilal midfielder Carlos Eduardo missed from the spot, whilst Johan Vasquez missed for Monterray. However the man of the hour Cardenas stepped up for his side, saving Mohamed Kanno’s penalty before dusting himself off and scoring to hand the Mexicans a third place finish.