Chivas de Guadalajara started and finished its bid for the 2018 Club World Cup with a 3-2 loss to Kashima Antlers in Al Ain, UAE, on December 15.
Chivas started the game well, taking the lead in the third minute thanks to Angel Zaldivar. But the second half belonged to Kashima Antlers. Ryoto Nagaki equalized in the 49th minute; Serginho put the 2018 AFC Champions League champ ahead in the 69th minute; Hiroki Abe piled on a third goal for the J-League club in the 84th minute. A stoppage-time own goal off the scramble to deal with the rebound of a saved penalty gave Chivas a more respectable scoreline than had appeared its due.
No CONCACAF club has ever finished better than third at the Club World Cup. Last year’s representative from the region - Pachuca - delivered a third-place finish: the first by a CONCACAF team in the tournament since Monterrey in 2012.
As it happens, Monterrey will be in the 2019 edition of CONCACAF Champions League, and among the favorites to represent the region at the 2019 Club World Cup - mostly because a Mexican club has won every edition of the CONCACAF club championship since 2005 (when, incidentally, it was won by Costa Rican heavyweight Saprissa - a team that went on to register one of CONCACAF’s rare third-place finishes at the Club World Cup).
Chivas will not be in CCL 2019. The club will close out its curtailed 2018 Club World Cup campaign with a fifth place playoff against Esperance de Tunis, the reigning CAF Champions League winner. That match takes place on December 18.