America and TP Mazembe will look to make the best of a bad situation when they meet to contest fifth place in the Club World Cup on Wednesday.
The match at Osaka’s Nagai Stadium pits the CONCACAF champions against their Confederation of African Football (CAF) counterparts after both teams lost their respective quarter-final matches.
America suffered the more shattering reverse, having taken a 1-0 lead into the final 10 minutes of their quarter-final against Guangzhou Evergrande thanks to Oribe Peralta’s goal.
But, with the carrot of a semi-final showdown against Barcelona acting as motivation, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team turned the contest on its head – half-time substitute Zheng Long levelling matters before Brazilian midfielder Paulinho headed a stoppage-time winner.
“We threw it away,” said America’s Dario Benedetto, who missed a gilt-edged chance when the score was 1-0.
“They didn’t do much to win it. We just froze. We had the lead and everything was under control, but we lacked the intelligence to come away with the result we wanted and paid dearly for it.
“There was a lot of frustration in the dressing room. We were very excited about the Club World Cup and to go out like that in the last minute is very tough. We have to turn the page, though.”
TP Mazembe were more convincingly dispatched, 3-0 at the hands of Sanfrecce Hiroshima and coach Patrice Carteron has few complaints about the prospect of taking part in the plate match.
“We didn’t play well and we got what we deserved,” he told reporters. “The only positive we can take is that we have another game.
“We always have a high expectation and we’re all frustrated at the moment. We’ve failed, but there’s one more chance for us.
“We’re going to work hard to show the real TP Mazembe in the next match. We’ll need to show more offensively, we’ll need to show more intensity and we’ll need to show more defensively.”