Al Ahly - Corinthians Preview: Brazilian giants enter fray aiming to book second world final
The Copa Libertadores winners face off against the African champions for a place in Sunday's final with Tite's men seeking further glory in the competition
By Mohammed Ali
Fathi, Gomaa, Nagieb, Qinawi
Said, Aboutrika, Ashour, Soliman
Alessandro, Chicao, P Andre, F Santos
Al-Ahly coach Hossam El-Badry is set to name largely the same starting XI that narrowly beat J-League champions and host side Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the quarter-final on Sunday.
The African champions, though will be without influential captain Hossam Ghaly, who limped off in that game, and will likely be replaced in the side by his substitute, Mohamed Aboutrike with Al-Sayed Hamdy continuing up front against Mohamed Nagy Gedo.
Corinthians make their bow in this year's FIFA Club World Cup a full 12 years after winning the inaugural competition in 2000. Coach Tite will stick largely to the 4-2-2-2 formation which served him well in the successful Copa Libertadores campaign.
Emerson, who scored both goals in the 2-0 second leg victory over Boca Juniors in the continental final, will lead the line, with Paulinho and Ralf sitting in front of the defence, allowing Danilo and Douglas space to roam forward.
At the back, Tite is set to keep faith in the formidable back four of Alessandro, Chicao, Paulo Andre and Fabio Santos as they aim to progress to a potential final against Champions League winners Chelsea on Sunday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Al Ahly qualified for the Club World Cup semi-final with a narrow 2-1 victory over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in freezing conditions on Sunday.
- The Egyptian side are in the tournament having won the 2012 CAF Champions League, a record seventh triumph for the Cairo-based club.
- The side's best record in the competition was third place back in 2006, where they were beaten in the semi-final by Brazilian opposition in the form of Internacional, who later beat Barcelona in the final.
- Al-Ahly will be hoping to become only the second African side to reach the world final, following TP Mazembe in 2010.
- Corinthians are seeking to become the first side other than Barcelona to win the competition for a second time.
- The Brazilian outfit beat Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores final in July, having won their national title in 2011.
- Corinthians' Danilo and Fabio Santos already possess a Club World Cup medal, having been part of the Sao Paulo squad that won the 2005 final against Liverpool.
- The winner of this semi-final will feature in Sunday's showpiece game against the winner of the other match between Monterrey of Mexico and Chelsea of England.
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Top 3 Predictions
Al-Ahly SC 2-1 Corinthians
- 17.12 %
Al-Ahly SC 1-2 Corinthians
- 14.52 %
Al-Ahly SC 0-2 Corinthians
- 9.18 %
|Club World Cup (CWC)||Dec 12, 2012||Al-Ahly SC 0 - Corinthians 1|
|Apr 15, 2014||Al-Ahly SC 1 - Arab Contractors 0||EGY1|
|Apr 10, 2014||Al-Ahly SC 3 - El Raja 0||EGY1|
|Apr 6, 2014||Al-Ahly SC 4 - Misr Lel Makasa 1||EGY1|
|Apr 2, 2014||Enpi 1 - Al-Ahly SC 1||EGY1|
|Mar 29, 2014||Al-Ahly SC 2 - Al Ahli Benghazi 3||CAFL|
|-||Abdulla Ali Saeed||Defender|
|13||Ahmed Adel Abdul Monem||Goalkeeper|
|4||Sherif Abd Elfadil||Defender|
|22||Mohammed Abu Trika||Midfielder|
|-||Dominique Da Silva||Striker|
|7||Juan Manuel Martínez||Striker|
|Mohammed Abu Trika|
Touted as the best player never to have graced Europe or South America, Mohamed Aboutrika is a man loved not just in his country, but across Africa. The 34-year-old scored the winner over Hiroshima in the quarter-final, and will be hoping to contribute similarly against their South American opponents. Aboutrika, winner of two Africa Cup of Nations, could cap off an otherwise emotional year which included his retirement after the Port Said stadium disaster. Will be the man Corinthians have to keep quiet.
Scorer of both the goals which sealed a first-ever Copa Libertadores for the Brazilian side, Emerson heads into the Club World Cup aiming to seal similar success for Tito's men. The Brazilian-born striker, since capped by Qatar, could be a real force in the tournament, with his powerful physique and fierce strike proving to be a real threat to defences.
Al Ahly will enter this semi-final aiming to better their best ever result in the competition, and the players will surely be acting upon coach El-Badry's stirring words to play for their nation following a year to forget. Corinthians, nevertheless, are a better outfit on paper, and possess enough quality to see off the Egyptians, and qualify for a second shot at the title they first won in 2000.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed