The Arabian Gulf League champions Al Jazira will play Real Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi in what is expected to be the biggest club game in the United Arab Emirates’ football history.
Henk Ten Cate’s side beat reigning Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Saturday night to set up the showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.
UAE international Ali Mabkhout scored the only goal of the game in the second half and the Japanese side couldn’t break down a resolute Al Jazira backline.
Playmaker Mbark Boussoufa is central to Al Jazira’s efforts and the Morocco international says that his team-mates have already written football history in setting up the tie.
“To play against one of the best teams in the world is an honour,” he said. “For the local boys it’s definitely a dream to play against Real Madrid.
“I don’t think any team made it to the semi-finals from the UAE. Just doing that we wrote history. It’s a great feeling."
“What we did already is a fantastic job. It’s nice to play against Real Madrid, to play against all these big players.
“But I don’t think that comes with any extra pressure with it because you’re automatically in the underdog role.
“Everything is possible in football but of course we have major respect for Real Madrid.
“We respect them but as a football player there is no reason to have fear of anything. Let’s just enjoy the game, enjoy being on the such a big stage.
“For a small country, for a small club in the UAE to come on the worldwide stage is fantastic.”
Copa Libertadores holders Gremio play Concacaf Champions League winners Pachuca in the other semi final on Tuesday in Al Ain.
The Club World Cup final will be contested on Saturday December 16 in Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.