If you are a Real Madrid or Club America fan you better fear the deer, and I’m not talking about the Milwaukee Bucks.
Since the dawn of the FIFA Club World Cup over a decade ago, there have seldom been semi-final upsets. In most Club World Cups, the decision of who takes the trophy has featured the UEFA Champions League winner and the Copa Libertadores champion.
Still, Japanese side Kashima Antlers just joined Congo’s TP Mazembe and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca as the only three teams to knock out a South American representative in the semifinals.
Mazembe knocked-out Andres D’Alessandro’s Internacional in 2010. Raja denied Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro a chance at the trophy in 2013. This year, Kashima stopped Miguel Borja and Atletico Nacional’s dream of a world championship. And they did it in style.
Atletico’s downfall started with a moment FIFA had been looking for since the competition began: the use of a video assistant referee. And it was a disaster.
Kashima’s Daigo Nishi fell inside the box while the game was still tied 0-0 and referee Viktor Kassai allowed the game to continue. A little later Kassai was called to the sideline, watched a replay of the incident and pointed to the spot awarding Kashima a penalty.
The penalty would have been nothing but a fair call if Nishi hadn’t been blatantly offside in the play. Here is a video of the incident so you can make your own conclusions (Just fast forward to 0:40):
FIFA VAR yay or nay?
If you are an Atletico Nacional fan your nay is understandable, as Shoma Doi capitalized on the penalty that sealed Atletico’s fate.
The Colombian side dominated the rest of the match with Borja leading the charge, but they just couldn’t find a way around goalkeeper Sogahata.
In the 8rd3 minute what was bad turned into a nightmare as Yasushi Endo showed all his flair backheeling in Kashima’s second goal after Franco Armani’s mistake.
The dagger came on yet another mistake by Armani, who let a low cross by and could do little but watch as Yuma Suzuki tapped the ball in and made it 3-0.
Surprising or not, Kashima will now wait for the winner of Real Madrid and Club America to decide who they'll face in the FIFA Club World Cup Final.