Al Ahly see off Al Ittihad in Club World Cup as Urawa Reds edge Leon

JEDDAH: Al Ahly of Egypt ran out 3-1 winners against Karim Benzema's Al Ittihad in the second round of the Club World Cup yesterday, after Urawa Reds progressed to the semi-finals.

A first-half Ali Maaloul penalty and strikes either side of the hour mark by Hussein El Shahat and Emam Ashour ensured Al Ahly's spot in the semi-finals in Jeddah.

The opening 45 minutes of the tie was dictated by two penalties, one scored and one missed.

Maaloul gave the CAF Champions League winners the lead on 21 minutes when he converted his spot-kick following a VAR intervention.

Al Ittihad's star summer signing Benzema then saw his penalty saved by Mohamed El Shenawy on the stroke of half-time, as his team went into the break trailing 1-0.

The tie was effectively over after an hour when El Shahat curled in a second for Al Ahly on 59 minutes, followed by a third courtesy of Ashour three minutes later.

As the clocked ticked down to the final whistle, Anthony Modeste picked up a red card in the 90th minute.

This offered a lifeline to the Saudi side and two minutes into added time, Benzema atoned for his earlier saved penalty by thumping home a consolation goal for the local team.

The Egyptian champions will face Copa Libertadores victors Fluminense of Brazil in the first semi-final tie on Monday.

Earlier, a sole Alex Schalk goal gave Urawa Reds of Japan victory against Mexican opponents Leon, setting up a semi-final clash with Manchester City on Tuesday.

Second-half substitute Schalk struck with the clock running down in Jeddah to book the 2022 AFC Champions League winners' place in the semi-finals with a 1-0 win.

A tight affair was settled in the 78th minute when the Dutchman found space in the Leon penalty box and managed to squeeze his right-footed shot past the advancing Rodolfo Cota, after being set up by Jose Kante.

Hopes of a comeback for the CONCACAF Champions League holders were extinguished when William Tesillo picked up a second booking six minutes from time and the 10 men could not find a way to break down Urawa Reds. --AFP

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