- Monterrey eliminate host side Al Sadd
- Five-goal thriller graced by selection of superb strikes
- Mexicans will face Liverpool in semi-finals
Monterrey lined-up a glamour tie with Liverpool after kicking off their FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 with an exhilarating 3-2 defeat of Al Sadd.
Leonel Vangioni’s astonishing strike was the pick of the five-goal thriller, which saw the four-time participants reach the semis for only the second time.
The Mexicans were almost ahead in a matter of seconds, with Jesus Gallardo rasping a shot onto the bar from an awkward angle. If that was a statement of intent, Vangioni delivered in style. From 30 yards out he unleashed a meteorite that he couldn’t have placed better with the help of a step-ladder. His shot hit off the top right-hand corner of the post and went in, sending the visiting fans crazy.
Their second was another freak event, but of a different manner. A misplaced back pass from Al Sadd captain Gabi became the perfect through ball for Rogelio Funes Mori, who doesn’t miss gifts like that.
Hope emerged in the shape of Baghdad Bounedjah, who superbly headed in from 12 yards, only to see the gap widen again when Carlos Rodriguez thumped a third off the underside of the bar.
Abdelkarim Hassan made sure it was a nervy end – and gave the home fans a moment to savour – producing his own rocket from 25 yards out, but it proved too little, too late.