Saudi Arabia giants Al-Hilal edged 10-man Flamengo 3-2 to reach the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup final.
Brazilian forward Pedro of Flamengo and Hilal’s Al-Dawsari scored a brace each in the entertaining semi-final clash this Tuesday night at the Grande Stade de Tanger.
The action packed fixture lived up to it’s billing, and produced a worthy finalist as Flamengo was a disappointment from start to finish.
The Saudi side led by Argentine legend Ramon Diaz started the game with an impressive rhythm that kept Flamengo in their half throughout the opening minutes.
It took just three minutes for Hilal to get their noses in front. Matheuzinho fouled Vietto in the penalty area, Salem Al Dawsari stepped up and converted for Hilal.
Hilal conquered Wydad in the previous round but they needed penalties to do so. Determined to make it easier this time around, to avoid any nervous exercise.
Flamengo had a penalty shout in the 15th minutes, but it was waved away as the referee rather booked Gerson for simulation.
Flamengo improved in the next 10 minutes especially from the influence of De Arrascaeta in the wings.
They could have scored just before the break when Pedro found Gabigol in the box. His efforts went just a few inches away.
There was a dramatic end to the first-half ; Al Hilal won a penalty in added time after a VAR check. Gerson received his matching orders after he was booked for the second time on the night. Al-Dawsari scored and completed his brace.
Hilal won and scored a dramatic penalty just before the interval to make it 2-1.
Flamengo made two changes before resumption, bringing in Fabricio Bruno and Pulgar in place of De Arrascaeta and Pereira respectively. Those two changes impacted the game.
Hilal was unlucky not to extend their lead in the hour mark as Michael beat Santos in goal for Flamengo but his effort came off the world work.
Flamengo lost possession of the ball in the center of the pitch. The Saudi Arabia side’s fast break caught the Brazilians napping. Vietto’s nice shot on the right, left Santos rooted to the spot as Hilal made it 3-1 with 20 minutes on the clock.
Pedro scored in the 90th minute but it was too little too late.
The game ended on a 3-2 scoreline.
The first Saudi side to reach the Club World Cup final, will face the winners of Real Madrid’s semi-final against Al Ahly on Wednesday at the Ahmed Abdellah Stadium Rabat.
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