CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey flew to Japan for the 201 Club World Cup not knowing who they would face in their opening quarterfinal match.
Now they know.
First-half goals from Junya Tanaka and Masato Kudo led J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol to a 2-0 win on Thursday over Auckland City FC, the Oceania Football Confederation champions, in the play-in match.
Tanaka’s goal in the 37th minute was a masterful individual effort. The forward collected the ball on the left side of the Auckland City area, spun to elude two defenders, and drilled a shot from an acute angle that beat the wrong-footed keeper, Jacob Spoonley.
In the wake of a 40th-minute corner kick, Kudo doubled Reysol’s lead, cleaning up a scramble in the Auckland City goalmouth after defender Hiroki Sakai’s header clanged off the post.
The second half belonged to Reysol goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno. He dove high to tip Dave Mulligan’s freekick over the bar, before then blocking Mulligan’s header at the near post a few minutes later.
Monterrey, who defeated Real Salt Lake in the CCL final in April, will face Reysol on Sunday in Toyota. The winner earns a semifinal matchup with Copa Libertadores champions Santos, of Brazil.