Tau struggles as Real Madrid put Al Ahly to the sword in Club World Cup

Percy Tau, Al AhlyBackpage
  • Tau was introduced after an hour
  • Bafana Bafana forward had little service
  • Al Ahly found it tough against Madrid

WHAT HAPPENED? Tau replaced Mohamed Sherif in the 61st minute but had little impact as the Egyptian giants were already on the back foot by the time of his introduction, his side trailing 2-0.

Tau was nearly played in 15 minutes from time when a cross in the box saw him fail to connect well after a good run and won a corner three minutes later after robbing the Madrid defence.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns forward then lost possession which nearly proved costly with Brazilian Rodrigo making a good run into the box before failing to find the target.

Tau came on after Vinicius Junior had made the breakthrough three minutes from half-time, capitalizing on loose play at the back from Al Ahly to delicately lift the ball over the onrushing Mohamed El Shenawy.

Madrid took just over a minute after the restart to double their lead. Federico Valverde coolly worked space for himself and finished after Rodrygo’s initial effort had been saved, all but giving the Uefa Champions League holders the key to the final.

The African giants received a lifeline via the penalty spot. Eduardo Camavinga caught Elshahat in the box, and Ali Maaloul confidently stepped up to send goalkeeper Andriy Lunin the wrong way and renew Al Ahly’s hopes.

Even though Luka Modric’s penalty was saved, Madrid’s third goal arrived when Rodrygo rounded off some wonderful link-up play with Dani Ceballos by providing a cheeky finish before substitute Sergio Arribas added gloss on the score-line, deep into time added on.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Tau had started Al Ahly’s 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders having bagged the third goal in their tournament opener against Auckland City which they won 3-0, but he was dropped to the bench for the meeting with the European champions.

The Bafana Bafana forward showed great pace with his movement in and around the box but it did not yield much.

Al Ahly fell at the semi-final stage in a third consecutive Club World Cup campaign, and will now hope to beat Flamengo in the third-place play-off to equal their best-ever finish in the competition.

WHAT’S NEXT? Al Ahly will play Flamengo in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

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