Monterrey hoping to surprise at Club World Cup

Monterrey captain Luis Perez knows anything can happen at the

Club World Cup and is hoping his team can create some surprises,

starting with Sunday’s quarterfinal against Japanese side Kashiwa

Reysol.

Perez played in the 2000 Club World Cup in Brazil when his

Necaxa team pulled off an upset by beating Real Madrid in a penalty

shootout to win the third-place playoff.

A win against Kashiwa on Sunday would see Mexico’s Monterrey

face South American champions Santos in the semifinals, but Perez

refuses to look beyond his team’s quarterfinal against the J-League

champions.

”Before we fight against Santos we need to focus on Kashiwa,”

Perez said. ”Our team is very good at controlling the ball and we

have a very good defense so we have to use this to our advantage

against Reysol.”

Kashiwa, coached by Brazilian and former Santos player Nelsinho,

beat Oceania representatives Auckland City 2-0 on Thursday to reach

the final eight.

”Kashiwa is a very strong team so it will be a match between

two strong teams,” Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich said. ”The

Japanese team is very organized and disciplined.”

Monterrey collected 16 points from a possible 18 in the group

stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, then beat Real Salt Lake of

the United States 3-2 on aggregate in April’s final to qualify for

the Club World Cup for the first time.

No CONCACAF team has ever reached the final of the Club World

Cup, but Perez thinks his team is capable of making history at this

year’s tournament.

”Yes, it’s true that a team from the continent has never

reached the final, but we are very motivated and focused and want

to make it to the final,” Perez said. ”We have to win two

matches. I know it is very tough and very challenging, but we have

many skilled players on our team.”

Champions League winner Barcelona and South American champion

Santos of Brazil are the seeded teams in the tournament and enter

in the semifinal stage from Dec. 15.

The Club World Cup, which features seven sides from FIFA’s six

continental confederations, is back in Japan for the first time

since 2008 after two editions in the United Arab Emirates.

African champion Esperance Sportive De Tunis meet Asian

Champions League winner Al-Sadd of Qatar in the second of the two

quarterfinals on Sunday.