Urawa Red Diamonds Lose to Al-Ahly to Finish Fourth in Club World Cup
10:41 JST, December 23, 2023
JEDDAH (Reuters) – Al-Ahly defeated Urawa Red Diamonds 4-2 in an entertaining Club World Cup third-place playoff on Friday to secure a top three finish in the tournament for the fourth time, despite losing a two-goal lead and missing a penalty.
The Egyptian side, appearing in their fourth consecutive third-place playoff, finished third in 2006, 2020 and 2021, while Japan’s Urawa came third in 2007.
Al-Ahly took the lead in the 19th minute when a short corner move found Mohamed Hany well outside the box and his fierce strike was parried by the keeper and Yasser Ibrahim pounced from close range.
Six minutes later Al-Ahly doubled their lead when Atsuki Ito lost possession on the edge of his own area and Ahmed Koka’s pass found Percy Tau who had plenty of time to take a touch before firing past Shusaku Nishikawa.
Just when it looked like Al-Ahly were cruising, Urawa pulled a goal back when Jose Kante hit a first-time volley in the 43rd minute to score in his final game having announced his retirement in November.
Urawa came out with renewed belief after the break and in the 54th minute Alexander Scholz fired a penalty down the middle to level the scores after a handball by Mohammed Hany.
It took just six minutes for Al-Ahly to retake the lead, however, as a poor shot from Ali Maaloul took a wicked deflection off Urawa defender Yoshio Koizumi and flew past his own keeper.
In the 75th minute Al-Ahly had the chance to restore their two-goal lead but Maaloul’s penalty was saved by Nishikawa diving low to his right to keep his side in the game.
Urawa piled on late pressure but were unable to find another goal, and the Egyptians wrapped up the win in the ninth minute of added time when Maaloul made up for his penalty miss with a stunning free kick.
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