Africa’s quest for a third Club World Cup final appearance ended after European champions Real Madrid beat Egypt’s Al Ahly 4-1 in the semi-final on Wednesday.
Al Ahly’s well organised defence capitulated as Vinicius Jr opened the scoring three minutes before half-time with Federico Valverde doubling the lead just after the break.
The Red Devils competed well after the hour mark, and the pressure paid off when Eduardo Camavinga tripped Hussein El Shahat inside the box.
Tunisia’s Ali Maaloul tucked away the penalty to make it 2-1 in the 65th minute.
Al Ahly had their moments during a frenetic second period. Mohamed Afsha missed a sitter from close-range that would have been the equaliser, while Hussein El Shahat and substitute Percy Tau both troubled Real Madrid’s defence.
Mohammed El Shenawy denied the 14-time European champions a third goal by saving Luka Modric’s penalty in the 87th minute.
But Rodrygo and substitute Sergio Arribas made sure of the win in stoppage time with two sublime efforts to seal a comfortable win for Real.
Al Ahly will play Brazil’s Flamengo in the third place play-off, before Real Madrid face Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal in the final on Saturday.
Al Ahly coach Marcel Koller was left frustrated with his team’s defeat, defensive blunders and missed chances in the second half.
“It’s a frustrating result because the team competed well against Real Madrid but failed to take advantage of the scoring opportunities,” said Koller.
“As a team we will go into the game against Flamengo feeling strongly confident because we’ve seen their last game here against Al Hilal.
“We lost today but we fight again on Saturday.”
Africa’s most decorated team, and one of the world’s most successful, Al Ahly are last-four regulars at this tournament.
The 10-time African champions, who are still chasing a first win against European opposition at this level, finished third in 2006, 2020 and 2021.
DR Congo’s TP Mazembe and Raja Casablanca of Morocco have delivered Africa’s best performances at the tournament, finishing runners-up in 2010 and 2013 respectively.