FIFA Club World Cup Preview: Monterrey v Raja Casablanca
By Football News
Monterrey will start their campaign to match their third-place finish at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup against Raja Casablanca on Saturday.
Last year, Monterrey defeated Asian champions Ulsan before they ran into Chelsea in the semi-finals and lost 3-1.
But in the third-place play-off, Jose Guadalupe Cruz's men were too good for African champions Al-Ahly and claimed a podium finish with a 2-0 win in Yokohama, Japan.
This year marks Monterrey's third successive appearance at the Club World Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League winners will undoubtedly hope to go a step further than 2012 with Brazil's Atletico Mineiro their potential semi-final opponent, instead of Bayern Munich.
Monterrey will have to overcome Casablanca first, however, after the reigning Moroccan champions defeated Auckland City 2-1 on Wednesday.
Casablanca needed a second-half stoppage-time winner from Abdelilah Hafidi to knock off the New Zealand club after Auckland's Roy Krishna had cancelled out Mouhssine Iajour's opening goal.
Monterrey have not played a competitive fixture since November 9, after they failed to reach the quarter-finals of the 2013-14 Liga MX Apertura season.
Casablanca, by comparison, played in Morocco's Botola Pro just a week before they took on Auckland.
The Moroccan club sits in eighth in the Botola Pro standings with just four wins after 12 rounds in their domestic league.