Africa’s quest for a third appearance in the Club World Cup final ended after European champions Real Madrid beat Egypt’s Al Ahly 4-1 in the semi-finals on Wednesday .
Al Ahly’s well-organized defense capitulated when Vinicius Jr opened the scoring three minutes before half-time, with Federico Valverde doubling the lead just after the break.
The Red Devils faced off well after the hour mark, and the pressure paid off when Eduardo Camavinga tripped Hussein El Shahat in the box.
Tunisian Ali Maaloul saved the penalty to make it 2-1 in the 65th minute.
Al Ahly had their moments during a frenetic second half. Mohamed Afsha missed a keeper from close quarters who would have been the equaliser, while Hussein El Shahat and substitute Percy Tau both troubled the Real Madrid defence.
Mohammed El Shenawy denied the 14-time European champions a third goal by saving Luka Modric’s penalty in the 87th minute.
But Rodrygo and substitute Sergio Arribas secured victory in stoppage time with two sublime efforts to seal a comfortable win for Real.
Al Ahly will face Brazilian Flamengo in the third-place play-off, before Real Madrid take on Saudi side Al Hilal in the final on Saturday.
Al Ahly coach Marcel Koller was frustrated by his team’s loss, defensive errors and missed chances in the second half.
“It’s a frustrating result because the team played well against Real Madrid but failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities,” Koller said.
“As a team, we will go into the game against Flamengo feeling very confident because we saw their last game here against Al Hilal.
“We lost today but will fight again on Saturday.”
Africa’s most decorated team and one of the most successful in the world, Al Ahly, are the final four regulars at this tournament.
The 10-time African champions, who are still aiming for a first victory against European opponents at this level, finished third in 2006, 2020 and 2021.
DR Congo’s TP Mazembe and Morocco’s Raja Casablanca had the best African performances at the tournament, finishing runners-up in 2010 and 2013 respectively.