Ricardo Ferretti hailed his team as mighty Mexican outfit Tigres made history by powering through to the Club World Cup final.
Tigres became the first team from the CONCACAF region – covering North and Central America and the Caribbean – to reach the showpiece match of FIFA’s top club tournament.
Andre-Pierre Gignac’s penalty early in the second half gave Tigres the result their performance richly deserved, a 1-0 victory over Palmeiras.
The match-winning French striker had earlier been denied by two outstanding first-half saves by Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton, who came up for a last-gasp corner and headed over a difficult chance to equalise.
The club from the city of San Nicolas de los Garza will face Bayern Munich or Al Ahly in Thursday’s final, with the reigning European and African champions going head to head in Monday’s second semi-final.
Ferretti said: “The victory gave us an opportunity to reach the final. We faced two great teams, and the next one will be also a great team, and we will face them in the same way.
“I feel calm and happy for the win and excited as everyone. I don’t like celebrating before time, we still have to play a game, the most important one is the next one. Naturally we know how capable will be the team we will face.
“Now, we have to get ready, the players have to recover physically, but not emotionally because they feel good. We will get ready these days to reach the end goal.”
¡Ahí era, goleador! pic.twitter.com/TGuXHkurit
— Club Tigres Oficial (@TigresOficial) February 7, 2021
Palmeiras head coach Abel Ferreira complained that the penalty decision was “dubious”, suggesting the tug by Luan on Carlos Gonzalez was not sufficient to justify a spot-kick.
He said: “It was not a clear grab although it existed, but this is not basketball, they won a penalty and from there they defended themselves.
“We had some chances but we couldn’t get it right and I have to say without problems that they were slightly superior and the game is solved with a detail by the experience of a great player.
“We know we could do better individually. We came here on our own merit, we have a good mix of young and experienced people. But today we have to apologise to our people and assume that our rival was slightly superior in general and, I repeat, the game is resolved by a dubious penalty.”