Ahly's Mosimane says third-place finish better than last year's bronze medal

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Feb 2022

Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane said this year's third-place finish is even better than last year's similar outcome as the Red Devils crushed nine-man Al-Hilal 4-0 in the Club World Cup bronze medal contest on Saturday.

Ahly s midfielder Ahmed Abdel-Kader celebrates with his team after scoring the third goal during the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup football match between Saudi s Al Hilal and Egypt s Ahly at al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 12, 2022 (AFP)

The Cairo giants won the bronze medal for a third time in their history, having also finished third in 2006 and 2021, after producing a ruthless attacking display against the Asian champions in Abu Dhabi.

Al-Hilal lost Matheus Pereira and Mohammed Kanoo to two red cards after some rash challenges in the first half, with Ahly taking full advantage to claim their biggest ever Club World Cup win on their record seventh appearance.

Mosimane was proud that Ahly were able to replicate last year's outcome despite having to play without a host of their regulars in the opening game against Mexico's Monterrey.

They stunned Monterrey with a 1-0 win in the second round even though they had to do without a dozen of key players, who were either away on international duty with Egypt or injured.

Ahly were outplayed in a 2-0 loss to South American champions Palmeiras in the semis despite welcoming back some players, who looked worn out.

But they roared back against Al Hilal to give their fans something to cheer about.

"(This win) came against all the odds. We came here with the players not here. We started the tournament with a lot of players out through injury," Mosimane, who was also in charge of Ahly when they defeated Palmeiras on penalties in last year's third-place playoff, said in a pitch-side interview.

"This means a lot to us. We have shown the spirit. The medal for me this year is better than the medal last year," Mosimane, draped in South Africa's flag, added.

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