The African champions were thumped 4-1 by South Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai in a play-off for fifth place yesterday in Osaka. Downs can draw solace from the fact that they are the only Southern African side to have participated in the tournament, and from the $1 million they receive for their sixth-place finish.
“Jingles” retained the same starting line-up as the one he fielded in his side’s 2-0 loss to Japan’s Kashima Antlers in Sunday’s quarterfinal.
The Asians opened the scoring in the 18th minute through a Kim Bo-Kyung cracker and doubled their lead on the half hour, courtesy of a Lee Jong-Ho strike from close range.
Four minutes before the break, Sundowns’ usually reliable Brazilian-born defender Ricardo Nascimento had a moment he would rather forget when he increased the Korean lead, turning the ball past his goalkeeper Denis Onyango, in what was an attempt to clear a Jang Yun-Ho cross.
Mosimane introduced Sibusiso Vilakazi in place of Leonardo Castro at the start of the second half after the striker, together with his attacking partners, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat, were kept at bay, with Kang Hee-Choi’s men dominating the opening period.
Masandawana finally managed a goal in Japan as Percy Tau produced a moment of brilliance, cutting in from the right and curling the ball into the net after the restart.
But the Koreans managed to restore their three-goal cushion, through Kim Shin-Wook.