Al-Hilal Stun Flamengo With 3-2 Win To Reach Club World Cup Final for First Time
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal stunned South American champions Flamengo of Brazil to reach the Club World Cup final with a 3-2 victory in the semi-finals held in Tangier, Morocco, on Tuesday.
Two penalties in the first half from Salem Al-Dawsari and a close-range strike from Luciano Vietto qualified the Asian champions to become the first Saudi squad to reach the Club World Cup final. Al-Hilal will take on Al-Ahly of Egypt, the African runner-up, or Real Madrid, the European champions, in Saturday’s final after their meeting in the second semi-finals in Rabat on Wednesday.
Al Dawsari’s perfectly placed spot-kick gave Al-Hilal the lead in the first minutes of the match after Matheuzinho tripped Vietto inside the box. Pedro equalized for Flamengo with a close-range strike in the 20th minute but Al-Hilal regained the lead just before halftime as Al-Dawsari again converted from the spot, with Gerson sent off for a second booking after stomping on Vietto in the penalty area.
With Flamengo reduced to 10 men for the entire second half, Al-Hilal controlled the tempo and eventually scored the third, when Al- Dawsari returned the favour to Vietto, putting the ball on a plate for the Argentinian to score with a point-blank strike.
Pedro’s close-range effort in extra time was a little too late for Flamengo, who became only the sixth Copa Libertadores champions not to advance to the final.
Meanwhile, Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal offered a financial reward, amounting to SR500,000, to each player of Al-Hilal team, after qualifying for the Club World Cup final.
On his part, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, an honorary member of Al-Hilal Club, announced that he will reward SR1 million to each Al-Hilal player on the occasion of qualifying for the Club World Cup final.