Chivas Leave Club World Cup With Pitiful Showing After Loss To 9-Man African Club

Guadalajara lost in the fifth-place match to Espérance de Tunis in an epic penalty kick shootout.

It turns out, beating MLS clubs is a lot easier than beating continental champions. Chivas Guadalajara learned that the hard way this week at the Club World Cup.

While Club América was back home in Mexico winning an unprecedented 13th Liga MX title, breaking a tie with Chivas for most all time, Guadalajara was in the UAE, getting beaten by teams from Asia and Africa.

On Tuesday, Chivas fell to nine-man Espérance Sportive de Tunis in a penalty kick shootout in the fifth-place match of the Club World Cup, ending a highly disappointing trip to what should be (but isn’t) the world’s biggest club competition. 

Guadalajara was playing at the Club World Cup as Concacaf’s representative after beating Toronto FC of MLS in the Concacaf Champions League final. But the Mexican side blew an early lead and lost to Asian champion Kashima Antlers 3-2 in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

It was a huge blown opportunity for a Liga MX team to reach the final of the tournament for the first time ever, seeing as Real Madrid is a shadow of its former self. Who knows, a strong Liga MX team in good form might’ve even challenged for the title, given the South American champion, River Plate, just finished a whirlwind Copa Libertadores that saw the final played in Madrid. 

But instead of playing Real Madrid in the semifinals on Tuesday, Chivas Guadalajara faced Espérance out of Tunisia, the African champion. 

Like Saturday’s match, Chivas struck first, earning a penalty kick in the first minute when Ángel Zaldívar was taken down in the box.

VAR eventually ensured Chivas was awarded the penalty, which Walter Sandoval put away after some delay in the fifth minute.

But VAR giveth and VAR taketh.

Later in the first half, Espérance equalized with a penalty of its own after a hand ball committed by Chivas in their own box.

Despite the introduction of Carlos Salcido in the second half, Guadalajara couldn’t find a way to retake the lead. 

With neither side wanting to go home without a win, the match grew testy. 

Raúl Gudiño tried to draw a red card with some clever acting in the 70th minute, but the referee didn’t buy it (though the Espérance player did nudge the Chivas keeper unsportingly). 

Less than eight minutes later, Anice Badri was sent off for the African club as things boiled over. 

With the two clubs going at it, Espérance was reduced to nine men in the 96th minute, with Houcine Errabei sent to the showers early. 

But Chivas couldn’t capitalize on the two-man advantage and the match went to a shootout (no extra time). José Cardozo brought on Miguel Jiménez to mind the net for the shootout and the move looked brilliant at the start, with Jiménez saving the two of the first four spot kicks. 

However, the epic shootout went eight rounds deep, and Espérance de Tunis won it when Isaac Brizuela fired over the bar and Chamseddine Dhaouadi scored in the bottom left corner.

Espérance players and fans celebrated like they had just won a World Cup match instead of the fifth-place match at the Club World Cup.

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With that, the Chivas Club World Cup campaign ended with one loss and a defeat on penalty kicks, the Liga MX side finishing sixth out of seven teams, though Team Wellington from Oceania might argue it deserves a chance to play for sixth place after it lost on penalties to Al-Ain, which beat Espérance 3-0 in the quarterfinals. 

Not a good week for Chivas, especially when Club América swept the Liga MX, Liga MX Femenil and Liga MX U-17 trophies this weekend. 

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