If you’ve been living in a cave on a moon for the past week, you may not be aware that there’s a rather important football tournament going on in Abu Dhabi at the moment. We’re speaking, of course, about the FIFA Club World Cup, a winner-takes-all clash between the champions of the various footballing confederations from around the globe. And with the champions set to be crowned at Zayed Sports City this Saturday, we’ve taken the opportunity to look back at the first few games of the tournament.
Local boys Al Wahda FC got off to an emphatic start, seeing off Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United 3-0, thanks to first half goals from Brazilian pairing Hugo and Fernando Baiano, with home-grown midfielder Abdulrahim Jumaa putting the game beyond doubt mid-way through the second half.
Moving into the quarter finals, a single goal from Mbenza Bedi was enough to put African champions TP Mazembe through to the next stage of the tournament, the Congolese stars setting up a semi-final clash with Brazil’s SC Internacional, as an oddly lacklustre CF Pachuca, who hail from Mexico, crashed out without even making it onto the scoresheet.
It was quarter-final misery, too, for Al Wahda, whose hopes of glory were dashed as they were trounced 4-1 by South Korean side Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. Having gone a goal down in the fourth minute, at one point it looked liked the contest might still be alive, as Baiano slotted home his second of the tournament just before the half-hour mark. Sadly it was downhill from here for the home side, who conceded a second before the break and a further two in the second half. The Koreans now face the daunting prospect of a semi-final meeting with Inter Milan, due to take place at Zayed Sports City on December 15 at 9pm, just after Al Wahda take on Pachuca in the fifth-place play-off at 6pm. So who’s going to win it? It’s hard to tip anyone but Inter Milan at the stage, but with Seongnam causing an upset with their dominant display against Al Wahda, they’re looking strong favourites to join the Italians in the final.
Look out for more news and pictures from the tournament, right here, later in the week.