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Al Jazeera Advance – FIFA Club World Cup

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The FIFA Club World Cup kicked off with a 4-1 first-round victory for Al Jazeera against AS Pirae. Monterrey, Al Ahly and Al Hilal await in the second round, while Chelsea and Palmeiras will appear in the semi-finals.

By Facundo Di Bona (@facudibona).

For the first and only match of FIFA Club World Cup phase one, Al Jazeera showed no mercy and thrashed 4-1 the weak AS Pirae of Tahiti, an amateur team made up of students, policemen, firefighters and businessmen.

Pirae traveled to the United Arab Emirates as a guest at the FIFA Club World Cup, since the original representative of Oceania -Auckland City of New Zealand- had dropped out due to the health restrictions due to Covid-19 that are still in force in their country.

The goals for Al Jazeera, who compete in this tournament as champions of the host country’s local tournament, were scored by Zayed Al Ameri, Ahmed Al Hashmi, Milos Kosanovic and Abdoulaye Diaby.

While the goal of the Tahitians was the product of a goal against Mohammed Rabii.

The match was not even at any time: at 40 minutes, the result was already 3-0.

Goodbye to the illusion of epic that the president of AS Pirae, Heimana Salem, expressed in the preview:

“Our ambition is to get through the first phase. We know the gap that separates our level from international football.”

Naea Bennett, captain of the team, had been excited in the run-up to his participation:

“If we chain two victories, we can play against Chelsea!”

The truth was that the Arabs thrashed and thus secured a place in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup against Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia on Sunday night.

The Saudis agreed to this instance to win the Asian Champions League and are clear favorites to advance in a clash between two teams from the same continent and federation.

One day before the match between Al Jazira and Al Hilal, Monterrey from Mexico will face off against Al Ahly from Egypt, a season ticket holder for this tournament, but who will have five players down because they are playing AFCON with their country.

The Mexicans are the current champions of the Conca champions and the Egyptians of the CAF Champions League, where they are the maximum champions with 10 conquests.

For its part, Palmeiras of Brazil – champion of the Copa Libertadores – awaits the winner between Al Ahly and Monterrey.

This first semifinal will be on Tuesday, February 8, while the Brazilian team also played last year’s edition and it was a failure: they finished fourth without even scoring a goal.

The brand new winners of the Champions League will fight for a place in the final against the survivor of the cross between Al Jazeera and Al Hilal, a match that will take place on Wednesday, February 9.

Chelsea is the great candidate and seeks to get rid of the thorn of its last and only precedent in this tournament, where it fell 1-0 in the final against Corinthians from Brazil in 2012, in what meant the last victory of a South American against a European in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The grand final of the tournament will be on Saturday February 12 and like the rest of the matches it will also be played at night.


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