Real Madrid have to shift their focus to the Club World Cup semi-final where they will square up against Egyptian outfit Al Ahly. The two are set to battle it out at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Morocco on Wednesday. Los Blancos have traveled to Morocco in search of their fifth Club World Cup title.
While Al Ahly will be hoping to catch out of form Madird-based club off guard and make it to the final. The winner of this clash will face either Flamengo or Al-Hilal in the final on Saturday. Whereas, the losers will battle it out to determine who finished third.
Al Ahly have made it to their third successive semi-final of the Club World Cup. They have defeated Auckland City and Seattle Sounders in the previous round to progress into the all-important semi-final against European giants Real Madrid.
They are heading into this encounter on the back of two impressive results in the previous rounds. The Red Devils thrashed Auckland 3-0 in the first round. In the second round, they managed to get past Seattle with an 88th-minute goal by substitute Mohamed Magdy.
Marcelo Koller’s men are on a 23-match unbeaten run in all competitions. They have won each of their last five fixtures. The Egyptian club are in red-hot form and will be eager to cause an upset when they square up against Los Blancos. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
As far as Real Madrid are concerned, it has been a tough time for the Spanish giants of late. They are heading into this encounter on the back of a painful 1-0 defeat at the hands of Mallorca. It was a major blow in their quest to retain the La Liga title.
It was a nightmare outing for the club as Nacho Fernandez scored an own goal and Marco Asensio failed to convert a hard-earned penalty. Carlo Ancelotti’s mean has dropped points in three of their last five matches in the Spanish top flight. As a result, they are now 8 points behind league leaders Barcelona.
While their form is a major concern, they will be hoping to get their hands on the Club World Cup and turn around their fortunes. Ancelotti’s men have won the competition a record four times between 2014 to 2018.
The reigning Champions League winners are favorites to go all the way in the tournament. But, their form suggests that it won’t be that easy a task. And, they have previously lost in the competition back in 2000 under Vincente del Bosque.
While it might look like a huge task for Al Ahly to get past Real Madrid but they will have to believe. It is going to be an interesting clash between two teams with contrasting circumstances. The Egyptian team are flying high whereas the Spanish giants are struggling to get the job done. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how the teams could line up and what tactics they might use.
Our main training session before facing Real Madrid 📸💪🏻🦅❤️#ClubWC#YallaYaAhly pic.twitter.com/kZVWHkIdDu
— Al Ahly SC 🇬🇧 (@AlAhlyEnglish) February 7, 2023
The Egyptian club Al Ahly will be without the services of Mostafa Shobeir, Karim Fouad, and Akram Tawfik who are nursing long-term injuries. Apart from the three, they don’t have any injury or suspension to worry about. Marcelo Koller has the majority of his big players available for the fixture.
Koller is expected to start with his preferred (4-1-4-1) formation against the Los Blancos. Mohammed El Shenawy will take charge of the goal. He is likely to go ahead with an unchanged back four. Mohamed Hany, Mahmoud Metwaly, Mohamed Abdelmonem, and Ali Maaloul will line up in defense to try and keep a clean sheet against European giants Real Madrid.
Aliou Dieng will sit in front of the back line as the defensive midfielder. He is expected to make a few changes in the center of the park with Mahmoud Kahraba likely to return to the XI after starting on the bench. Kharaba, Mohamed Magdy, Amr El Solia, and Hamdi Fathi will line up as the midfielders. Leading the line will be 28-year-old striker Percy Tau.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Shenawy; Hany, Metwaly, Abdelmonem, Maaloul; Dieng; Kahraba, Magdy, Solia, Fathi; Tau.
Carlo Ancelotti will have to deal with the absence of quite a few big players. Ferland Mendy, Eden Hazard, Lucas Vazquez, Eder Militao, Thibaut Courtois, and Karim Benzema are all out due to injuries. None of them have traveled with the squad.
Courtois picked up a muscle injury during the warm-up shortly before the defeat against Mallorca. Karim Benzema and Eder Militao were both unavailable for the fixture against Mallorca and haven’t recovered yet.
Ancelotti will use the 4-3-3 formation in the semi-final clash. Andriy Lunin will start in goal in the absence of Courtois. David Alaba will slot in at the right-back position, while Dani Carvajal will star on the left. Nacho and Antonio Rudriger are likely to be the center-back pairing.
The experienced duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kross will return to the XI after starting on the bench last time out. Aurelien Tchouameni will support them in the center of the park.
Federico Valverde is likely to start on the right-hand side of the front three. Vinicius Junior will take charge of the left flank while Rodrygo Goes will lead the line in the absence of star striker Benzema.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lunin; Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Alaba; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr
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Vinicius has been in red-hot form in the ongoing season. He has 19 goal contributions in 31 appearances. However, the Brazilian wonder kid will now have to take on the responsibility of getting the job done in the absences of a few big players. He has it in him to dribble past defenders and leave the goalkeeper clueless.
Ancelotti will hope that the 21-year-old steps up in the absence of Benzema and guides the team to yet another Club World Cup final as they search for their fifth title.
Real Madrid’s formidable attack could not get the job done in La Liga a few days back. But, is expected to bounce back and cause a lot of problems for the Egyptian club Al Ahly. Los Blancos will not find it that easy because Al Ahly are resilient in defense and are on a winning streak. However, Ancelotti’s men have some of the best footballers on their side and are expected to overpower Al Ahly on the night.