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Fifa Club World Cup UAE: Al Ahly blank Al Hilal to finish third

Al Ahly's Amr El Solia celebrates after scoring the fourth goal against Al Hilal on Saturday night. — AFP
Al Ahly's Amr El Solia celebrates after scoring the fourth goal against Al Hilal on Saturday night. — AFP

Abu Dhabi - The ‘Red Giants’ from Egypt bagged the bronze medal for the third time following on from their success in 2006 and 2020, through their seven appearances



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 7:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 7:41 PM

Yasser Ibrahim scored a brace as African champions Al Ahly demolished Asian powerhouse Al Hilal 4-0 in the third-place match of the Fifa Club World Cup UAE 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.

The ‘Red Giants’ from Egypt bagged the bronze medal for the third time following on from their success in 2006 and 2020, through their seven appearances.

The CAF champions nailed the contest in the first 30 minutes by exploring chinks in the Saudi club’s defence, which was down to nine-men with star players and mainstay Matheus Pereira and Mohamed Kanno receiving straight red cards.

While both teams were evenly matched in the initial exchanges, Al Ahly went up on eight minutes at the Al Nahyan Stadium. Following a foul outside the edge of the box, Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul curled the free-kick and Ibrahim, running clear from Al Hilal shirts, converted with a powerful header.

Once again, the back-four led by Jang Hyun-soo and Yasser Al-Shahrani were found wanting. Despite conceding an early goal, Al Hilal, as they have been in this tournament, looked calm and tried to wrest the momentum back. However, on 14 minutes, they suffered another jolt as winger Pereira was given marching orders for a front-foot foul.

Immediately, Al Ahly started pushing with more intent and on 17 minutes doubled the advantage as Ibrahim leapt higher than defender Muteb Al-Mufarrij to score with yet another sharp header.

Anger and frustration were growing in the Al Hilal camp, more so because of the tenacity shown by Al Ahly and the helplessness of the Riyadh-based club to respond in equal measure.

And on 28 minutes, Al Hilal went down to nine-men for an off-the-ball foul after a VAR review showed that during an Al Ahly corner, Kanno had brought down Ibrahim.

The Egyptians, with the two-men advantage and cheered on by thousands of fans, kept maintaining pressure on the Saudi Arabian outfit. And towards the end of the first-half, Al Ahly added another goal.

On 40 minutes, Amr El Solia delivered a high ball inside the Al Hilal box and Ahmed Abdel Kader dribbled past defenders on the far-left post to shoot the ball past the national side keeper Mohammed Al-Owais.

In the first-half, Al Ahly had 12 shots with seven on goal and three conversions against no attempts from Al Hilal. The stats defined the complete domination from Pitso Mosimane’s boys.

At the restart, Al Ahly kept probing until finding a clear opportunity to hunt. Al Ahly, with their heavy passing game, worn down the Al Hilal players. On 64 minutes, El Solia made it 4-0 with a dipping long-ranger. Al Ahly ended the game with 10 shots on target whereas Al Hilal failed to find any.

With a goal fest, South African coach Mosimane and his boys signed off from the Cup in style and returned home on a high note.


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