Club America came from a goal down to defeat Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors 2-1 in the FIFA Club World Cup second round to set up a dream semi-final meeting with UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid.
Kim Bokyung had put Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk in front on 23 minutes before Silvio Romero headed home an equaliser for Las Aguilas after the break. The Argentinian then followed up on his leveller by converting substitute Michael Arroyo’s corner on 74 minutes.
It was a case of déjà vu for both clubs who last met each other at the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup – ten years ago to the exact day when Club America ran out 1-0 winners in Japan. Choi Chulsoon, who appeared in that game, was the only veteran present in the same fixture a decade later.
Club America started brightly and looked to control the early spells of possession. Oribe Peralta and Romero both worked themselves into threatening situations in front of goal, but were unable to connect cleanly with their respective efforts for the CONCACAF champions.
While the Mexicans looked to be the side in the ascendancy, it was Jeonbuk who took the lead on 23 minutes. Towering frontman Kim Shinwook, sporting a green mohawk in the club colours, played in Lee Jaesung, who found Kim inside the area, and the Korea Republic international fired into the bottom corner.
Club America came close to grabbing an equaliser on 31 minutes when forward Romero launched a powerful shot from range, but his effort was tipped on to the bar and over by acrobatic goalkeeper Hong Jungnam. At the other end, Kim nearly registered a second on 38 minutes, firing narrowly wide of the post after being played in by Edu on the edge of the area.
After a quiet start to the second half in comparison to a fast-paced opening 45 minutes, the match burst into life when substitute Michael Arroyo’s cross from the left found Romero, who headed home past Hong before wheeling away in celebration in front of the club’s travelling support.
With a spring in their step, the CONCACAF Champions League winners continued to look threatening going forward, and they took the lead on 74 minutes. After Hong forced the ball out for a corner after valiantly denying Peralta from close range, set-piece taker Arroyo showed great vision to pick out Romero lurking at the other side of the box, who fired home past Hong to put his side in front.
Goalscorer Kim came close to snatching a late equaliser for Jeonbuk on 89 minutes after Kim Shinwook had set up the chance with a clever header, but his strike hit the side-netting.
Club America now travel to Tokyo for a showdown with European champions Real Madrid.