Spain’s Real Madrid will take on Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the FIFA Club World Cup 2022 final at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco, on Saturday. The football match is scheduled to start at 8:00 PM WAT (West Africa Time) and can be seen live on sports channels all over the world even on live streaming.
Both Real Madrid and Al Hilal had contrasting paths en route to the FIFA Club World Cup 2022 final.
Real Madrid, the UEFA Champions League (UCL) winners, joined the tournament from the semi-final stage as per the competition format. They handed Egypt’s Al Ahly a 4-1 drubbing, courtesy goals from Vinicius Jr, Federico Valverde, Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas.
Goals either side of half time from Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde put Los Blancos in control, before Al Ahly’s Ali Maaloul pulled one back from the penalty spot midway through the second half.
After Luka Modric then missed a spot kick of his own, hopes of a grandstand finish for the Egyptian outfit where quashed when stoppage-time strikes from Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas ensured that the Spanish giants prevailed.
Al Hilal, the AFC Champions League holders, defeated South American champions Flamengo of Brazil 3-2 in the semis, thanks to Salem Al Dawsari’s brace. Al Hilal began the tournament from the second round and edged past African champions Wydad Casablanca on the penalties to make the semis.
After beating Moroccan side Wydad AC 5-3 on penalties in the second round, Al-Hilal created history by becoming the first Saudi Arabian side to reach the Club World Cup final when they secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over Flamengo in the semi-finals.
Two first-half penalties converted by Salem Al-Dawsari either side of a strike from Pedro gave Al-Hilal the advantage at the break, but a red card for Flamengo midfielder Gerson on the stroke of half time ultimately turned the contest in the favour of the Saudi side.
Former Atletico Madrid forward Luciano Vietto scored Al-Hilal’s third on the 70-minute mark, and although Pedro netted his second to pull one back in stoppage time, Ramon Diaz’s men held on to claim a famous triumph and gain revenge over the Brazilian side who beat them in the semi-finals three years ago.
Al-Hilal – 18-time Saudi Pro League champions – are competing at the Club World Cup for the third time and qualified for this year’s tournament as the holders of the AFC Champions League.
The Blue Waves are guaranteed to better their previous two outings at the Club World Cup after finishing fourth in both 2019 and 2021, losing to Monterrey and Al Ahly respectively in the third-placed playoff.
Al-Hilal, who have only lost two of their 19 competitive matches in all competitions this season, are now preparing for their first meeting with European juggernauts Real Madrid, and a stellar showing is required if they are to pull off an almighty upset and create further history on Saturday.
Real Madrid are the most successful team at the FIFA Club World Cup, having won four titles (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) in the 18 editions played so far. As for Al Hilal, it will be their maiden appearance in the final. Al Hilal lost to eventual champions Chelsea in the semi-finals last year.
Al Hilal will become the first Asian team to win the FIFA Club World Cup if they manage to beat Real Madrid. Japanese club Kashima Antlers in 2016 and UAE’s Al Ain in 2018 made it to the final but lost their finals against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid will be without Ferland Mendy (hamstring), Eden Hazard (muscle) and Lucas Vazquez (ankle) due to injury, while Karim Benzema (hamstring), Eder Militao (groin) and Thibaut Courtois (muscle) are all doubtful but could recover in time for Saturday’s final.
Andriy Lunin’s place between the sticks will come under threat if Courtois is deemed fit to return, while Militao’s potential inclusion could see David Alaba shift from centre-back to left-back, forcing Eduardo Camavinga to drop to the bench.
Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos are all poised to continue in centre-midfield, while either Rodrygo or Valverde could make way if Benzema is deemed fit to start.
As for Al-Hilal, Andre Carrillo has revealed that he took painkillers to play through the pain against Flamengo after sustaining an ankle injury in the second round, and the Peruvian will be assessed ahead of kickoff on Saturday.
Mohamed Kanno is available for selection after serving a one-match suspension last time out, and the midfielder could replace Carrillo in the first XI.
Odion Ighalo and Moussa Marega – formerly of Manchester United and Porto respectively – are expected to retain their places in attack, while Vietto will also be hoping to keep his place after scoring as a substitute on Tuesday.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Alaba; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr
Al-Hilal possible starting lineup:
Al-Mayouf; Abdulhamid, Jang, Al-Bulaihi, N. Al-Dawsari; Kanno, Cuellar; Marega, Vietto, Al-Dawsari; Ighalo
Real Madrid vs Al-Hilal prediction
There is an opportunity for Real Madrid to win a trophy this Saturday. For Real Madrid fans around the world, this is a big game given that there is silverware on the line.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men responded well from their shock 1-0 La Liga defeat to Mallorca last weekend – a result leaving them eight points behind Barcelona at the summit – and they are now just 90 minutes away from lifting their first piece of silverware this season.
Last season’s Champions League winners Real Madrid competed in the inaugural Club World Cup back in 2000, although they failed to reach the final on that occasion and eventually finished fourth after losing 4-3 on penalties to Mexican side Necaxa in the third-place playoff.
Los Blancos then had to wait 14 years before lifting the trophy for the first time after beating San Lorenzo in the 2014 final under the tutelage of Ancelotti, and a further three triumphs have since followed against Kashima Antlers in 2016, Gremio in 2017 and Al-Ain in 2018.
No team have won more games (10) or scored more goals (32) than Real Madrid in Club World Cup history, and Ancelotti is bidding to draw level with Pep Guardiola as the competition’s most successful manager with three tournament triumphs – having previously won in 2014 with Los Blancos and in 2007 with AC Milan.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke about their opponents that managed to beat Flamengo in the semifinal: “Football’s changing because there’re a lot of teams all over the world that can compete, fight and win too. I was surprised that Flamengo were eliminated, but they’re in pre-season and their fitness level isn’t at its peak and the rest of the teams, who are in the middle of the season, are at their peak.”
Real Madrid have won each of their past four Club World Cup finals, while only once since 2006 has the trophy been lifted by a non-European side.
Everything points to the Champions League holders extending that record, in what should be an entertaining encounter judging by the semi-finals. Considering their current struggles in La Liga, where they’ve dropped five points in their last three matches, Real Madrid can’t miss the opportunity to win this trophy in a match which could reshape their season in Morocco.
Elsewhere, Al Ahly of Cairo will challenge Brazilian side Flamengo in the third place playoff game.
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