Sanfrecce Hiroshima have secured a third-place finish in the 2015 FIFA Club World Cup courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Guangzhou Evergrande at International Stadium Yokohama on Sunday.
Paulinho’s early goal in the fourth minute came to nothing for the Asian champions when Douglas’ double headers in the second half put the Japanese title holders ahead until the final score.
The victory means Sanfrecce seal third spot after finishing fifth in their only other participation in the competition back in 2012.
“It’s great to finish the tournament as the third place team. As representatives of the host country and the J. League, we had a responsibility,” said Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu.
“We wanted to prove that Japanese teams possess quality and I think we did that. Every member of the squad contributed.
“It’s my hope that this victory and the experience at this completion will help us improve even more. I hope that the people of Hiroshima are happy and proud of us.”
While Guangzhou failed to improve on their fourth-place finish from the 2013 tournament.
“We have to give credit to Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Physically and technically, I felt that they were better than us,” added Guangzhou coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on the other side.
“I think that they are improving all the time and we’ll have to have a different gameplan when we meet them again. We looked a tired team – it’s been a long season.
“But we’re thankful to have been involved in this tournament. Our Japanese hosts have been tremendous and it’s been a great experience for the players.”