Sundowns crash out of Fifa tourney as South Korea team wipe the floor with Mosimane's charges
Osaka‚ Japan - Of course‚ Shakira told those at a freezing Suita City Football Stadium in Osaka at half time that‚ “It’s time for Africa”.
By the evidence on the stadium’s pristine pitch for the first 45 minutes‚ though‚ it wasn’t.
Percy Tau’s stunning‚ world-class goal 48th-minute goal to some extent rescued what was turning into an embarrassment for Mamelodi Sundowns in Wednesday’s 4-1 fifth-place Fifa Club World Cup playoff defeat against Jeonduk Hyundai Motors.
Downs had conceded three goals to the South Koreans in a mystifyingly disjointed first half – to Kim Bokyung in the 18th minute‚ Lee Jongho in the 30th and Ricardo Nascimento own goal in the 41st.
Substitute Kim Shin-wook added a fourth in the 89th to confirm Jeonduk’s superiority.
Tau’s strike was a consolation.
It came in a tournament where Downs arrived with a good enough squad and brand of football to compete‚ but had to settle for consolations.
And the lessons learnt about the step up to a stage a notch above the level they have competed at so far‚ and being the first Southern African team at a CWC were not inconsiderable consolations.
It’s a good thing Downs’ players have the ability‚ because they are clearly lacking in experience.
It was that ability that allowed Tau to chase a long ball down the left‚ beat Lim Jongeun into the area and belt a finish from a narrow angle past goalkeeper Hong Jungnam‚ and rescue Sundowns’ tournament.
Downs were in the fifth-place playoff having been defeated 2-0 by Japan’s Kashima Antlers in the quarterfinals.
Jeonduk lost 2-1 against Mexico’s Club America.
These were two tired teams playing their last match of a gruelling 2016 schedule. Only Downs looked tired‚ though.
They were woeful in the first half.
Sundowns could not get their midfield and attack into the game.
It allowed Jeonduk space and territory to keep the ball down and play their dangerous and quick forwards through with some neat but not overly spectacular passing that earned three of the softest of goals‚ and left Mosimane’s men reeling.
It was hard to see what the strategy might be.
Perhaps – having murdered Antlers in the first half but failed to score‚ then succumbed in the second – Downs wanted to start more circumspectly.
If that was the idea‚ it backfired.
Jeonduk were good – technically you could see there class. But Downs had no place gifting the Koreans such extremely easy goals.
Downs had come out nervy‚ with some early stray passes not a positive sign. When they did win possession in Jeonduk’s half‚ too often they lost it tamely again.
So Jeonduk ran at Sundowns‚ who were all over the place at the back‚ including goalkeeper Denis Onyango again looking unconvincing.
Jeonduk opened the scoring when Go Mooyeol put full-back Park Wonjae down the left to cross‚ with Onyango palming in front of Han Kyowon‚ but only as far as Bokyung to pick his place for a finish.
They made it 2-0 from a stunningly-worked free-kick‚ Bokyung passing short to Kyowon‚ who chipped to Mooyeol on the left‚ who cut back into the middle‚ where Onyango missed the intercept and Jongho had another easy finish.
It got worse for Downs as‚ from defensive midfielder Jang Hunyo’s low cross form space on the right‚ Nascimento got the intercept but sloppily‚ and into his own net past stranded Onyango.
Soon after the break Tau produced his moment of magic that will have gone a long way to increasing his international stature.
But this was not Downs’ night by any stretch and substitute Shin-wook had a free header from Kyowon’s corner for a fourth soft goal to Jeonduk.
* Marc Strydom is in Japan as a guest of Mamelodi Sundowns - TMG Digital
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