RABAT, 9 Feb 2023:
Real Madrid thumped Al Ahly 4-1 yesterday in the Moroccan capital to reach the final of the Club World Cup for a record fifth time.
The Blancos, who have won the Club World Cup every time they have entered the competition, will face Saudi side Al-Hilal in Saturday’s final at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat.
Three injured starters – striker Karim Benzema, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Eder Militao – did not accompany the squad to Morocco, while Marco Asensio hurt himself in the warm-up and was not available to coach Carlo Ancelotti for the contest with the team from Cairo.
As expected, the Spanish club dominated in both possession and 62%, and shots on target with 11 to Al Ahly’s five.
But the improvised lineup was reflected in a lack of fluidity in the early going and it took a mistake from Al Ahly’s Mahmoud Metwally to open the door for Vinicius Jr. to put Real Madrid up 1-0 in the 42nd minute.
Fede Valverde doubled the advantage barely a minute into the second half, scoring on the rebound after Mohamed El Shenawy stopped the initial shot from Rodrygo.
The Egyptian side battled on and managed to halve the deficit in the 63rd minute, when Ali Maaloul converted from the spot after Hussein El Shahat was brought down in the box by Eduardo Camavinga.
Luka Modric had a chance to seal the victory from the spot in the 87th minute for a foul against Vini, but El Shenawy denied the Croatian.
The 3-1 materialised early in stoppage time courtesy of Rodrygo, brilliantly assisted by Dani Ceballos, and youngster Sergio Arribas added to the triumph in the 98th minute with his first senior goal.