Ahly lose final chance

Tuesday 8 Feb 2022

World Cup
Ahly s Dieng Aliou, left, and Ze Rafael of Brazil s Palmeiras fight for the ball during their Club World Cup semifinal match in Abu Dhabi, UAE (photo: AP)

Ahly of Egypt will play for the bronze medal in the FIFA Club World Cup after losing 2-0 to Brazil’s Palmeiras on Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates.

Ahly will play either British side Chelsea, representing Europe, or Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, the Asian champions, who are playing on Wednesday after Al-Ahram Weekly went to press.

The match for third place will be on Saturday 12 February, the same day as the final.

Goals by Raphael Vega in the 39th minute and Dudu in the 49th sealed the win for Palmeiras.

A goal by Ahly’s Mohamed Sherif in the 72nd minute was ruled offside.

Walid Suleiman headed against the bar for Ahly’s best chance of the game in the 96th minute. 

Ahly playmaker Magdi Afsha will miss the third-place playoff after collecting a yellow card. 

Ahly was attempting to reach the final of the championship for the first time in what is their seventh appearance in the Club World Cup which features the winners of the continental cups in FIFA’s six confederations and the league champions from the United Arab Emirates.

Despite missing more than half their regulars, Ahly beat Monterrey 1-0 on Saturday in their first game.

Defender Mohamed Hani’s 53rd-minute strike knocked off the Mexican side at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Ahly were without several Egyptian players who were at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), plus two injured foreigners.

The semi-final clash against South American champions Palmeiras was a re-match of their meeting in the third-place playoff last year. The Red Devils beat the Brazilian giants on penalties following a 0-0 draw to win the bronze medal in Qatar. Ahly took third place for the first time in 2006.

Six players joined Ahly in the UAE on Monday afternoon after arriving from Cameroon following their loss in the final of the AFCON to Senegal on penalties late on Sunday. But Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane said he will not risk pitting his international players against Palmeiras less than 48 hours after the AFCON final, although he did include two Egyptian internationals in his starting line-up against Palmeiras. Ayman Ashraf started in central defence, with Amr Al-Sulaya in midfield. 

“It is not easy to start the Palmeiras game with our international players,” Mosimane had told a pre-match press conference. “I have to see my players first and I will check their physical and technical condition. After that I will evaluate the situation more clearly, especially since they are coming from a very difficult competition in the Africa Cup of Nations.”

*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 February, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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