Mexico's Monterrey possible semifinal rival for FC Barcelona / PHOTO: RAYADOS.COM

Tunisia’s Esperánce, Mexico’s Monterrey, and Qatar’s Al-Sadd are FC Barcelona’s possible opponents in the World Club Cup semifinal in Yokohama. The quarterfinal draw will take place in Nagoya next Thursday, November 17th; the winner of that playoff will face Barça in the December 15 semifinal. The remaining team will be paired with New Zealand’s Auckland City, the winner of that match will play Brazil’s Santos in the other semifinal.

Afful gives the championship to Esperánce

Barça’s first possible rival is Esperánce of Tunisia, crowned champion of the African Champions League this Saturday after beating Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca. The Tunisian’s beat Wydad 1-0 in the return leg of the competition to seal their victory and claim the title. The Ghanaian, Harrison Afful, scored the winning goal on 21 minutes after both North African teams failed to score in the first leg.  

Monterrey, unbeaten champion

Mexico’s Monterrey, Barça’s second possible rival, won their first CONCACAF Champions League on April 27th thanks to a goal from Humberto Suazo. The Chilean striker, well known in La Liga, scored the only goal in the return leg against U.S.A’s Real Salt Lake, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. The first leg ended in a two-all draw. The Mexican side finished the tournament without knowing defeat, they won six games and tied three. Currently, Monterrey enjoyes the highest IFFHS standing of any Mexican team, ranked 41st globally.

The Asian kings, known opponents

Qatar’s Al-Sadd Sports Club represents the developing potential of the Asian country. The Qatari side is trained by the Uruguayan ex-keeper Jorge Fossati. Furthermore, one of the team’s most recognizable players is the Algerian Nadir Belhadj, ex-Portsmouth player and once rumored signing target for FC Barcelona. Their latest AFC Champions League title was won this past November 5th, in a penlalty shootout (4-2) against South Korea’s Jeonbuk Motors. Al-Sadd has won the AFC Champions League twice.

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