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CAF champs Wydad Casablanca out as rivals Al Ahly book Real Madrid date in Club World Cup



CAF champs Wydad Casablanca out as rivals Al Ahly book Real Madrid date in Club World Cup

RABAT, Morocco, Feb 4 – CAF Champions Wydad Casablanca suffered a shock first round exit at the ongoing FIFA Club World Cup after going out 5-3 on post-match penalties in an end-to-end match played at the Moulay Abdillah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco on Saturday.

In the other match played in Tanger, Egypt’s Al Ahly edged out North America representative Seattle Sounders 1-0 to book a date with UEFA Champions Real Madrid in the semifinals to be played Tuesday, February 7 while Al Hilal takes on South America’s Flamengo of Brazil.

The center of attraction was in Rabat since it was home team Wydad Casablanca playing where fans turned up in large numbers with 43, 891 attending the 52,000 capacity stadium.

However, at the end, the match was forced to penalties after a 0-0 draw in extra-time, with Wydad destined for a win, throwing a 1-0 lead at the dead.

Wydad Casablanca fans at the FIFA Club World Cup. photo/ALEX ISABOKE

Wydad’s Jalal Daoudi was seemingly at the centre of everything during the early skirmishes, and having already tested Abdullah Al-Muaiouf, the midfielder thought he’d opened the scoring with an instinctive finish, only to be denied by the offside flag.

Didier Lamkel Zé had two of the most promising openings of the half, in what was his first Wydad start after joining on loan from KV Kortrijk.

Lamkel Zé then delivered a cross that Ayoud El Amloud rose brilliantly to meet, but eventually couldn’t head on target as Wydad’s frustrations continued.

And he was involved in the action again just two minutes after the break, getting back brilliantly to clear Ali Al-Bulaihi’s shot off the line.

Wydad Casablanca fans celebrating lead. Photo/FLISS MOHAMMED

That excellent piece of improvisation would be rewarded when Wydad went in front shortly after, as El Amloud’s header bounced off the floor and went in off the underside of the crossbar.

Desperate for an equaliser, Al-Hilal were left in disbelief with 20 minutes on the clock. Salem Al-Dawsari became their second player to have a shot cleared off the line, with Amine Farhane doing the honours on this occasion.

However, Al-Hilal were awarded a penalty in the 89th minute, as Yahia Attiyat Allah handled Saud Abdulhamid’s cross, and Yahya Jabrane was handed two yellow cards in the aftermath.

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Despite being made to wait around four minutes, Mohamed Kanno coolly converted to take the game to extra time.

Al Hilal scoring. Photo/FLISS MOHAMMED

Having restored parity, Kanno also evened the on-field numbers four minutes into extra time, after receiving his second yellow of the game.

Marega and Bouly Junior Sambou squandered their respective sides’ best opportunity for a dramatic winner, meaning a penalty shootout would decide the tie.

Attiyat Allah’s penalty hit both posts and decisively stayed out, as every other penalty was scored, with the outcome seeing Al-Hilal progress to the CWC semi-final for the third time in a row, although they will now be hoping to get past that stage by overcoming Flamengo.

Meanwhile, Wydad’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end, as their CWC run ended in heartbreak, just as it did back in 2017.

-Additional reporting from flash score-

-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Rabat, Morocco-

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