Al Ahly Eliminated From FIFA Club World Cup After 2-0 Defeat Against Palmeiras
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By Amaechi Agbo
Pitso Mosimane”s dream to lead his Ah Ahly wads into the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final suffered a huge setback on Tuesday as the Africa Champions lost 2-0 to South America Champions, Palmeiras in the first semi-final match, www.bestchoicesports.com.ng can report
Raphael Veiga and Dudu recorded a goal and an assist each as Palmeiras eased past Al Ahly 2-0 in the Club World Cup semi-finals at Al Nahyan Stadium.
After losing to Tigres UANL in last year’s semi-final before being beaten on penalties by Al Ahly in the third-place game, it was a relief to Palmeiras to have reached the final.
Veiga opened the scoring six minutes before half-time, and turned provider for Dudu to double the Copa Libertadores’ champions lead early in the second half.
Either Chelsea or Al-Hilal await Palmeiras in the final.
Al Ahly were missing some key players, though started Egypt international Amr Al Soleya despite the midfielder playing an hour of the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.
He had two attempts during the first half but both came after Dudu had set Veiga away in the 39th minute, with the latter finishing well across Aly Lotfi.
Veiga returned the favour when he played in Dudu four minutes after the restart – the winger racing down the right before firing high into the net.
Another disappointed AFCON finalist, Hamdi Fathi, came on as part of a triple substitution following the second goal, and Al Ahly finally stepped up their intensity, having three times as many shots in the first 15 minutes of the second half (six) than they had in the entire first period.
Mohamed Sherif had the ball in the net in the 72nd minute when he followed up a shot that was spilled by Weverton, but it was disallowed for offside.
Salt was rubbed into Al Ahly wounds further with 10 minutes to go when VAR deemed Ayman Ashraf’s reckless challenge on Rony worthy of a red card.
What does it mean? Palmeiras improve on last time out
It is a rare occurrence for the CONMEBOL representative to fail to make the Club World Cup final, so losing to Mexican side Tigres last year was a big blow for Palmeiras, as was only finishing fourth after defeat to Al Ahly.
Palmeiras are now the eighth different Brazilian side to reach the final of the Club World Cup, with Flamengo in 2019 the last team from the country to progress to the competition’s showcase.
Al Ahly are making their seventh appearance at the Club World Cup but are yet to reach the final of the competition having now lost each of their previous four semi-final appearances (2006, 2012, 2021 and 2022).
Palmeiras will play the winner of Chelsea and Al-Hilal in Saturday’s final, while Al Ahly will face the loser of that game in the third-place play-off earlier that same day.
TP Mazembe (2010) and Raja Casablanca (2013) are the only African teams to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.