Real Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Sergio Arribas (C-R) celebrates with teammates after scoring the fourth goal during the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final football match between Egypt’s Al-Ahly and Spain’s Real Madrid at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on February 8, 2023. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

Real Madrid has secured their place in the Club World Cup final with a 4-1 win against Egyptian club Al Ahly to keep alive their quest for a record-extending eighth world title.

Vinícius Júnior, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas scored for the Spanish side at the sold-out Prince Moulay Abdallah Stadium in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, on Wednesday, to set up a clash with Al Hilal on Saturday’s final. The Saudi team shocked Brazilian club Flamengo 3-2 on Tuesday.

Madrid has won the world club title a record seven times, including three times when the competition was called the Intercontinental Cup. They are now chasing their first world club title since 2018.

Al Ahly, who beat MLS side Seattle Sounders and New Zealand’s Auckland City on the way to the semifinals, stayed tight at the back and Madrid initially toiled to break them down.

Vinícius opened the scoring in the 42nd minute for his 50th goal in 202 matches with Madrid. Valverde added to the lead early in the second half.

Ali Maaloul scored the lone goal for Al Ahly before Rodrygo and Arribas sealed the victory for Madrid in stoppage time. It was the first goal for the 21-year-old Arribas with Madrid’s first team.

“We lowered the intensity and suffered a bit, but in the end, we could manage it,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “We go into the final very motivated.”

Madrid was without six injured players who did not travel to Morocco, including striker Karim Benzema, defender Éder Militão and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Ancelotti said Benzema and Militão will rejoin their teammates for the final, but Courtois, forward Eden Hazard, and defenders Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vázquez are not going to make it.

Madrid had been struggling recently, having won only two of their last seven matches in a stint that included defeat against rivals Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final in Saudi Arabia.
Madrid won the Club World Cup in 2014 – also in Morocco – and from 2016 to 2018. The other titles – in 1960, 1998, and 2002 – came in the Intercontinental Cup.

The last time a non-European team won the Club World Cup was in 2012 when Brazil’s Corinthians beat Chelsea 1-0 in Japan.

Source:aljazeera.com

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