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Odion Ighalo’s Saudi Club, Al Hilal Secure Club World Cup Final Spot



Odion Ighalo's Saudi Club, Al Hilal Secure Club World Cup Final Spot

Nigerian international, Odion Ighalo’s Saudi club Al Hilal defeated Brazil’s Flamengo 3-2 in the Club World Cup semi-finals to secure a spot in the final game for the first time in the club’s history.

The Saudi team will face the winner of the second semi-final game between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Egypt’s Al Ahly.

The semi-final match was played at Ibn Battuta Stadium in Tangier.

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The game, which was preceded by a moment of silence for the victims of the Turkiye-Syria earthquake, did not take long to open the scoring, as Al Hilal got a penalty kick in the fourth minute.

Saudi star Salem Al-Dawsari confidently put the ball in the net, despite Flamengo’s goalkeeper Aderbar Santos getting his hand on the ball.

Flamengo’s number 9 Pedro managed to give his club the equalizer point in the 20th minute, giving his team the momentum to keep attacking for the rest of the first half.

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Al Hilal found their rhythm again at the end of the first half, making consistent attacks on Flamengo’s box.

Just before the half-time whistle, the Saudi team was awarded another penalty kick, with Flamengo’s Gerson Santos da Silva receiving a second yellow card and getting sent off.

The second half started with both teams making attacks, although Flamengo’s reduced squad started to show some cracks.

It was in the 70th minute that Argentinian attacker Luciano Vietto managed to strengthen Al Hilal’s lead, putting the ball in the top of the net where the keeper could not reach it.

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Flamengo’s Pedro put his team back in the game in the first minute of stoppage time, giving the Brazilian club a slither of hope.

Flamengo qualified for the tournament as winners of the CONMEBOL Libertadores, South America’s highest-level competition for clubs.

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While the Asian equivalent, the AFC Champions League, did not conclude in time for the Club World Cup, the Asian confederation nominated Al Hilal for their status as reigning champions.

In a tournament historically dominated by European and South American teams, Flamengo’s elimination came as a surprise.

Al Hilal, who have the most AFC Champions League titles, are the first Asian team in the final since UAE club Al-Ain in 2018. They are also the first Saudi team to ever reach the final.

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Real Madrid will play Al Ahly to determine the other team in the final on Wednesday. The Spanish club has the most Club World Cup titles with four trophies in their cabinets

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