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Real Madrid faces Al-Hilal in FIFA Club World Cup Final

Real Madrid reached a record fifth FIFA Club World Cup final with a resounding 4-1 trouncing of Al Ahly of Egypt in Wednesday’s night semi-final, played in Rabat, Morocco.

African Vice Champions, Al Ahly had their fair share of chances in the game, but Madrid’s superior quality ensured that they led 1-0 at the break; and doubled the lead just after the interval.

But a spirited fight back saw Ahly halve the deficit, from the penalty spot, just after the hour mark.

The reigning European Champions then responded in an emphatic manner by scoring two more goals, which saw the Cairo giants off and set up a date with Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia, in Saturday’s final.

Madrid broke the deadlock with Vinicius Junior’s dinked finish in the 42nd minute, before Federico Valverde gave the Champions League winners a 2-0 lead just after the interval.

Al Ahly’s solitary goal was through Ali Maaloul’s penalty before Luka Modric saw a spot-kick of his own saved.

But Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas got on the scoresheet in stoppage time to leave Madrid eyeing a record fifth world title.

After a cagey opening that gave Al Ahly encouragement, opportunities flowed at both ends.

Mohamed Sherif and Mohamed Abdelmonem both went close for Al Ahly, before Vinicius tested Mohamed El-Shenawy from a tight angle.

Rodrygo then hit the left-hand post from a similar situation soon after, but Madrid did net the opener, just prior to half-time.

Al Ahly are winners of the Bronze medal matches, in 2006, 2019 and 2021; and the Red Devils will now hope to finish the 2023 tournament in Morocco on a high when taking on Flamingo of Brazil in the losers final.

Flamingos, the COMEBOL Champions were beaten 3-2 by Odion Ighalo’s Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia, in the first Semifinal, played on Tuesday, in Tangier.

Ighalo did not score on the night, but was on the pitch for about and hour.

Reporting by Chinedum Ohanusi; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino