After tasting defeat against Tigres UANL in last year’s Club World Cup semi-final before losing on penalties to Al Ahly in the third-place game, Palmeiras supporters eagerly expected a different result this time around.
The opening was cautious and produced few chances, but the game sprung to life six minutes before half-time as Raphael Veiga turned in Dudu’s excellent first-time flick-on to deservedly put Palmeiras in front. The Palmeiras supporters, filling two thirds of Abu Dhabi’s Al Nahyan Stadium, went delirious.
Early in the second half Al Ahly were punished again, Veiga returning the favour when playing in Dudu, the forward racing down the right before firing a powerful shot high into the net to double the lead. And although Al Ahly enjoyed more of the ball after the interval, they did not get closer to breaking down Palmeiras’ defence than a goal ruled out for offside and a header in the crossbar. In the 81st minute, chances for a comeback were erased as Ayman Ashraf was shown a straight red after a dangerous challenge from behind on Rony.
Today, AFC Champions League winner Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia) and European champions Chelsea battle for the second spot in the final, which takes place on Saturday 12 February, kickoff at 16:30 GMT.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!
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by Kristian Bengtson
*Here at Anything Palmeiras, we love football. We love Palmeiras. We are always keen to see Palmeiras play, and keen to write about it for you. But we’re against the return of football in a country that still hasn’t controlled the coronavirus pandemic. We express our deepest sympathy to the families whose loved ones have been taken by the disease.