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FIFA Club World Cup: Real Madrid hold off second half charge from Al Ahly, advance to final

10-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt gave reigning UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid a stern challenge but ultimately the Spanish club emerged on top with a 4-1 victory in Wednesday’s semifinal matchup at the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup. Vinicius Júnior and Federico Valverde scored on both sides of halftime for Los Merengues with Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas also scoring late to put the match away. Ali Maâloul’s penalty kick was Ahly’s lone response in a match that was much closer than the score indicated.

Coming off a surprise La Liga defeat to Mallorca it took Real some time to settle into the match against an Ahly side who were attempting to reach the Club World Cup final for the first time. The first opportunities fell to the Cairo club with Mohamed Sherif and Mohamed Abdelmonem both failing to convert decent looks. Hussein El Shahat nearly caught Real goalkeeper Andriy Lunin off guard with a blast towards the Ukrainian’s near post but Lunin responded well to push away the effort.

Real finally woke up and it was Vinicius who took advantage of a mistake from Ahly in the 42nd minute, stealing the ball on an Aliou Dieng header back towards the defense before lifting his finish over Ahly keeper Mohammed El Shenawy. It appeared Real were on their way to a routine victory right after the halftime break when Valverde swooped in to finish after Rodrygo’s shot was saved by El Shenawy.

Motivated by their traveling supporters, Ahly pushed back and El Shahat drew a penalty kick soon after the hour mark after being tripped up by Eduardo Camavinga. Maâloul sent Lunin the wrong way to cut the deficit in half and Ahly went on to control the match for a stretch, nearly equalizing when Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” fired over from eight yards after receiving an El Shahat cross.

Lunin came up with one more important save in the 79th minute on Taher Mohamed’s header and Real seized control to seal the victory. El Shenawy did excellently to deny a Luka Modrić penalty kick in the 87th minute but had no chance in stoppage time after brilliant interplay from Rodrygo and Dani Ceballos set up the Brazilian for an easy finish. In the final seconds Real scored their fourth when a free kick was knocked down and Arribas struck an excellent low finish for the Real youth product’s first goal for the senior team.

Highlights from the match are below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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