An error-prone Ahly side succumbed to a 2-0 loss to Monterrey in the FIFA Club World Cup's third place playoff on Sunday, missing out on a chance to secure their second bronze medal in the tournament's history.
Jesus Corona opened the scoring as early as the third minute, before Cesar Delgado doubled the Mexican side's lead five minutes past the hour mark. Ahly's stuttering defence is to blame for the two goals.
Ahly took on Monterrey after fighting bravely in a 1-0 semi-final defeat by Brazil’s Corinthians, who face European champions Chelsea in the final later on Sunday.
The Cairo giants, who shall receive $2 million after their fourth appearance at the Club World Cup, finished third in the 2006 edition for their best placement ever in the tournament.
The Reds' rearguards problem was exposed for all to see when after left-back Sayed Moawad collided with goalie Aboul-Seoud while trying to clear the danger, giving Corona the chance to collect the loose ball and tuck it into an empty net unopposed from point-blank range.
The early goal evidently took a toll on Ahly's morale, with the team unable to stay fluid for the next half hour, which witnessed a dull game from both sides.
The seven-time African champions picked up the pace in attempts to redeem themselves in the last 15 minutes of the first half, but to no avail.
Veteran striker Emad came excitedly close to scoring an equaliser only to see his headed effort from inside the six-yard box hit the post.
On 37 minutes, combative midfielder Ahmed Fathi tried his luck from outside the area but Monterry's fully-fit shot-stopper Jonathan Orozco easily handled his effort.
After the interval, Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry sent in striker El-Sayed Hamdy and veteran midfielder Mohamed Barakat, replacing the off-form Meteb and combative midfielder Ahmed Fathi respectively to increase his side's firepower.
Ahly seemed to have the upper hand for a while into the second half, but Monterrey still netted their second goal.
In a counter-attack Cesar latched onto a through pass, outrunning his challengers to go one-on-one with Ahly keeper Mahmoud Aboul-Seoud and slot home with ease.
Ahly had a couple of opportunities to score but were thwarted by Monterrey goalie Orozco.
Abou-Treika was about to pull one back after heading an inch-perfect cross, only for the keeper to block his effort at full stretch.
Orozco also produced another great save to clear away an accurate close-range effort from Ahly's Rabia.
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