Egypt’s Al Ahly and Casablanca’s Wydad are the only African-Arab teams to qualify for the tournament
Egyptian football club Al Ahly eliminated New Zealand’s Auckland City in an impressive 3-0 victory in Morocco’s opening game of the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup.
2018’s Best Player in the Arabian Gulf League, Hussein El-Shahat, gave his team the lead in the closing first half.
The New Zealanders played adequate defence in Match 1 of the first round but could not yet create solid finishes.
In the second half of the game, 26-year-old striker Mohamed Sherif doubled the lead for the Egyptian squad as he unleashed a low drive shot from the pitch that beat goalkeeper Conor Tracey.
In the 89th minute, Al Ahly’s Percy Tau counted in a late third with a simple finish following a brilliant backheel assist by Mahmoud Kahraba.
The winning match edges Al Ahly to qualify for the tournament’s quarter-finals, where they will take on Seattle Sounders.
America’s Seattle Sounders, victors of the 2022 Concacaf Champions League and the first club from the USA to participate in the Club World Cup, will face a hard battle against the Egyptian squad, one of the two teams representing the Arab and African world.
The team captured the Egyptian Premier League title 42 times, the Egypt Cup title 37 times, and the Egyptian Super Cup title 12 times allowing them to have a reputation as the most prosperous African club.
The two winners will take on the tournament’s favourites, Real Madrid, which holds a four-time record Club World Cup title.
Hosts Wydad Casablanca will embark against Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal in their second-round tie on Saturday. The conqueror in that fixture will meet Brazil’s Flamengo in the semi-finals.