Gignac double sends Mexico’s Tigres into Club World Cup semis

Former France striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scored twice as Mexico’s Tigres defeated Asian champions Ulsan Hyundai 2-1 yesterday to qualify for the semi-finals of the Club World Cup.

Tigres, the CONCACAF Champions League winners, will face Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras of Brazil tomorrow for a spot in next week’s final.

Defender Kim Kee-hee headed Ulsan ahead from a corner in Al Rayyan, as the South Koreans returned to the Gulf state just six weeks after their triumph in Asia’s top club competition.

Gignac slammed in a volley to level on 38 minutes after a Tigres corner was flicked on by Diego Reyes, and the CONCACAF Champions League winners went ahead in first-half stoppage time.

As Gignac rose to meet another corner his header struck the raised arm of Ulsan centre-back Kim, and Tigres were awarded a penalty following a VAR review.

The ex-Marseille forward smacked the resulting spot-kick low into the corner as Tigres set up a meeting with Palmeiras, who beat Sao Paulo rivals Santos last weekend in the Copa Libertadores final.

No team from the CONCACAF region of North, Central America and the Caribbean has ever reached the Club World Cup final.

Bayern Munich are the overwhelming favourites to cap a remarkable last year as they head to Qatar for the delayed FIFA Club World Cup, taking place later than scheduled because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which overshadows the tournament. Bayern qualified after their triumph in last season’s UEFA Champions League, the crowning moment of a 2020 which also saw Hansi Flick’s team win the Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Super Cup and German Super Cup.

Now they are hoping to become the eighth consecutive European winner of the Club World Cup, a run that started when Bayern themselves lifted the trophy in Morocco in 2013. If they do so they can — albeit with the caveat that this competition is being played in a different calendar year — match the achievement of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, who won six trophies in 2009.

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