Al Ahly vs Auckland summary: score, goals, highlights | FIFA Club World Cup first round
Full-time: Al Ahly 3-0 Auckland City
A comfortable victory for Al Ahly, who stepped things up a gear in the second half and were never in any danger.
The opening stages of the first half suggested that we might be in for a tight game. Al Ahly did most of the running, with Abdelkader a constant menace out on the left flank and Sherif looking for balls in behind the Auckland defence at all times. The striker did have a couple of decent sights of goal but the New Zealanders managed to snuff out the threat of the Al Ahly attackers up until the stroke of half time. Albert Riera will be desperately disappointed with the goal his side conceded seconds before the whistle, with El Shahat given far too much time to fire a shot low into the net, which goalkeeper Tracey really should have saved.
The timing of the goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Auckland for the second half as they failed to offer any kind of threat, with a tame effort late on from Gillion barely even worth a mention. Instead, all of the attacking verve came at the other end of the field, with Al Ahly finding more and more space in behind the opposition defence as the half wore on. Sherif was the main beneficiary and eventually got his goal – his team’s second – with also missing some other reasonable opportunities before and after. A superbly worked third goal for Tau added some gloss to the scoreline and sends the Egyptians comfortably into the second round, where they will face Seattle Sounders.
What next for Al Ahly?
Al Ahly have qualified for the quarter-finals/second round of the tournament, where they will take on Seattle Sounders on Saturday 4 February in Tangier (kickoff at 12.30pm ET).
That's the second game of the day, with Wydad Casablanca facing Al Hilal in Rabat at 9.30am ET.
The winner of the Al Ahly vs Seattle Soundersclash will play against favourites Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Mohamed Sherif MVP for Al Ahly vs Auckland
Al Ahly striker Mohamed Sherif was certainly a menace and got into plenty of dangerous positions. I get the feeling he might be disappointed just to have scored once though.
Referee VAR red card decision "communicated" to fans
I didn't mention this at the time because Al Ahly got play quickly underway after Adam Mitchell's red card but Chinese referee Ma Ning communicated his decision to the fans in the stadium using a microphone. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to be particularly audible...
FIFA Club World Cup second round or quarter-finals?
I saw second round being referred to somewhere but quarter-finals definitely sounds better than the second round, doesn't it?
Let's go with that.
A convincing win for Al Ahly
A perfect start to their FIFA Club World Cup campaign for Al Ahly, who took a little while to get going but hit their stride in the second half. They even had the luxury of resting some of their key players, including El Shahat and Abdelkader, for the last few minutes.
The free-kick hits the wall and bounced back to Attia, who gets a decent strike on the ball and draws a good stop from Tracey!
Red card for Adam Mitchell! And a free-kick...
Taking an inexplicably long time...
The referee looks to have given the penalty although it looks to be clearly outside the box. It was a bad challenge from Mitchell, maybe a red card?
ALMOST a penalty for Al Ahly as Mitchell takes down Mohamed JUST outside the box. A VAR check going on.
Give the ball to Percy Tau and he's probably going to shoot. Even if he's got better options, I'd suggest...
This one is deflected out for a corner, which doesn't come to anything.
Four minutes of added time.
Finally, FINALLY an effort on goal from Auckland. Although it's barely worth mentioning as Gillion's tame effort just about trundles as far as El Shenawy.
Kahraba had shot wide and Tau had drawn a decent stop from Tracey seconds before the latter found himself on the end of a free-flowing move and coolly slotted beyond the Auckland keeper. Game over!
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL AL AHLY! PERCY TAU!
Three chances in quick succession for Al Ahly and the third is converted by Tau, who rounds off a superb team move with a fine finish!
Auckland have no attacking threat whatsoever, despite the change. Gillion picks up possession inside the centre circle and breaks forward but has absolutely no support and is easily dispossessed.
El Solia off for Afsha in Al Ahly's latest change.
Al Ahly substitute Percy Tau shots and the ball sails well over the bar. A bit greedy there from the South African, who had good options in the middle.
We're at the annoying point of the game when there are changes what feels like every 20 seconds. Al Ahly take Sherif and Fatih off, Kahraba and Attia are on.
Lee and Drake on for Garriga and Manickum for Auckland.
Ahhhhh what a huge opportunity for Auckland! They had a 4 vs 3 in their favour and men free in the box but indecision before making the final pass allowed Al Ahly to scramble the ball away. They can't pass up opportunities like that.
Abdelkader and El Shahat off
The last involvement of the game for Abdelkader, as he and goalscorer El Shahat are replaced. Tau and Taher Mohamed are on.
Abdelkader picking the ball up on the left flank again, drifting inside again. This time, he does get a shot away but it's wildly off target.
There are so many opportunities for Al Ahly to get the ball into the feet of Sherif. He's not been great in front of goal but his movement has caused a lot of problems.
All Al Ahly at the moment. I will eat my hat if Auckland get back into this.
First changes for Auckland
Vale and Kilkolly on for de Vries as Lobo as Riera looks for a way back into the game.
So close to a third for Al Ahly! El Shahat beats Muraiti in the box and fires an angled across goal which Tracey pushes out to Abdelkader, who takes his time as he looks to shoot but is again crowded out.
Another big chance for Sherif!
Hany and Sherif have combined superbly on a number of occasions; it's incredibly easily for the full-back to get the ball in behind for the striker. That's exactly what happens once again but Sherif gets his effort all wrong and sticks it wide. Should've done better.
The said corner is again very close to the goalkeeper and El Shenawy fists the ball out of the box.
For the first time in what feels like forever, Auckland venture into the Al Ahly box. Manickum, who's hardly been involved, makes a great run to get on the end of a long ball but Hany tracks him brilliantly to clear the ball out for a corner.
Auckland are going to have to come up with something different to test Al Ahly. The Egyptians have flown out of the traps at the start of the second half.
An uphill battle for Auckland now...
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAL AL AHLY! SHERIF!
Another chance for Sherif to shoot, and this time he finds the net!
Totally avoidable once again for Auckland, as they try to play out from the back, gift possession to their opponents, who slice them open with two passes. Sherif is clean through and has an age to tuck it past Tracey, who again didn't do especially well in trying to keep it out.
Abdelkader is right up for this in this second half. Maaloul slides a pass into him in the box and he leaves two Auckland defenders with twisted blood as he looks to work space for a shot. As often has been the case, there's an extra blue shirt in the way to block his path to call.
The Auckland goal leading a charmed life there! Hany gets to the bye-line and floats a cross up which Tracey flaps at. It falls to Abdelkader, who nutmegs Murati and fires the ball across goal, where Sherif smashes it off an Auckland hand. There's a quick check for a penalty but nothing doing.
Sherif has been looking in behind the Auckland defence all game and he finds it here! He runs onto Hany's pass and has an age to shoot but pulls his strike slightly and it hits the post!
Oh, it was offside...
They try a clever one off training ground and it turns out that it's not that clever.
An early chance for Auckland to hit back as they win a free-kick 30 yards out...
Auckland kick off the second half. Can they find a way back into it?
Al Ahly fans in great voice in Tangier
No doubt which set of fans are the happiest at half-time. And they're a noisy bunch! And fairly close to home too, which helps in terms of numbers.
El Shahat or Cristiano Ronaldo?
El Shahat celebrated his goal by doing the Cristiano Ronaldo 'siuuuuuuuuu' celebration. Not sure where you stand on it but I think the goal should be disallowed just for that reason...
Half-time: Al Ahly 1-0 Auckland City
And that's half-time! Auckland will be kicking themselves!
Al Ahly did most of the running in the first period but Auckland will be pretty happy with how they contained them, right up until the goal. Abdelkader has looked lively out on the left for the Egyptians, while Sherif has constantly been looking for space in dangerous areas, which has led to a couple of decent opportunities. The New Zealanders were able to close their opponents down whenever threatened to break into the penalty box but on the one occasion that they didn't, they were punished. El Shahat had far too much space to shoot from outside the area and Tracey will surely feel he should've done better.
Auckland boss Albert Riera will be pleased with most aspects of his team's display as they've generally defended well and looked tidy in possession. They have carried a threat but haven't created any clear chances, which will have to change in the second half.
What a time to open the scoring!
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL AL AHLY! EL SHAHAT!
Al Ahly make the breakthrough for long range! But that's a poor goal for Auckland to concde...
Abdelkader rolls the ball square to El Shahat 25 yards out, who isn't closed down and shoots fairly centrally. Tracey may be unsighted but lets the ball fly past him, it wasn't even close to being in the corner.
Two minutes of added time.
A poor delivery from Maaloul and an even worse ball into the box from El Shahat after the ball is cleared.
From the second of those corners, Abdelkader is set away down the Al Ahly left and drives forward, also winning a corner. I feel as if I've typed the word 'corner' a lot.
Auckland haven't been in the Al Ahly half much in the last few minutes but theywin a couple of corners, the first of which again gives El Shenawy work to do.
Sherif almost in!
It's just not quite been Sherif's day so far. Hany curls a lovely ball in behind the Auckland defence and Sherif looks favourite to get to it but Tracey rushes from his goal to collect as the striker hesitates slightly.
Wide from Sherif!
That looked to be another decent sight of goal forSherif but the ball ends up flying well wide! Hany got down the right and chipped one up into the box, the striker shins his volley well off target under pressure from Boxall.
A well worked move from Al Ahly sees Maaloul get in behind on the left but the full-back's cut back is just a bit too far behind Sherif, who had taken up a decent position in the middle. That was a chance!
Auckland have been on the back foot for spells but they've also had flashes of looking really good on the ball. Definitely plenty of hope for the New Zealanders as long as they can keep things quiet at the back. Which they've done pretty well until now.
The link-up between Maaloul and Abdelkader looks very promising down the Al Ahly left. The final pass isn't quite clicking but it's not too far off...
Wow, that was some cross from Hany. They call that a 'flyer' in golf. Almost ended up in the crowd on the other side of the field.
Straight up the other hand and Hany forces another corner for the Egyptians...excellent headed clearance from Boxall.
Auckland win a corner and Al Ahly goalkeeper El Shenawy has to be alert to ensure it doesn't sneak under his crossbar!
A couple of glimpses of danger from Auckland as de Vries and Murati both look to break in behind the Al Ahly defence from one-twos. On both occasions, the pass is slightly overhit and the ball runs out of play.
First save for Tracey from Abdelkader!
Abdelkader has had a quiet few minutes but he finds himself in space on the edge of the box and curls one goalwards, drawing the first save of the game from Tracey.
Fathi is suddenly in the thick of the action! Auckland surrender possession cheaply in their own half the midfielder shoots from 30 yards...and about 30 yards over.
Desperate defending from Auckland in front of their own goal as Fathi gets his head on it. They do just enough to get it away.
Hany tries to work the ball down the line to El Shahat...corner for Al Ahly!
Auckland worked the corner short and back into the box, where Dieng makes a crucial interception to stop Tade from pulling the trigger!
And that's exactly what they get. They string a decent number of passes together and Lobo forces a corner down the left!
Finally, a bit of respite for Auckland. They could do with a spell of possession just to settle down a bit.
Ahhhhh...so close to a beautiful piece of link-up play from Hany and El Solia! The latter's back-flick was just a touch too heavy and the Al Ahly right-back's charge into the box was brought to a halt.
Another menacing run off the left from Abdelkader...crowded out this time but he's seeing A LOT of the ball.
Al Ahly have really mixed it up so far. They've played through midfield, got the ball wide and even stuck a couple of long-ish balls in towards Sherif. Auckland will have to keep their wits about them.
You get the feeling that Abdelkader is going to try to torment Murati as much as possible down the Al Ahly left. The defender did well to hold his ground that time but the winger will keep coming back for more.
Malooul's ball into the box is cleared once...and twice when it goes back to him.
Corner for Al Ahly...!
Al Ahly wrestle back control of possession and have Auckland pinned back but there's precious little space for them to work with in the final third. Abdelkader looking in the mood out of the left though and Sherif constantly looking for space in the box.
A decent response from Auckland after a bright early start from Al Ahly. They're not sitting off their opponents.
Big chance for Al Ahly!
Huge chance for Sherif! The striker gets in behind the Auckland defence with ease and tries to flick Maaloul's pass beyond Tracey first-time but he doesn't get enough on it and it drifts wide.
First counter for Auckland, as Tade looks to play de Vries through but he overhits it and it finds its way through to El Shenawy.
Auckland City trying to press high up the field early on but Al Ahly having little trouble working their way past the press. No serious danger as of yet.
Al Ahly dominating possession in the first minute. It's very clear who has the backing of the majority of the fans (it's them).
FIFA Club World Cup, we have lift off! Al Ahly get us underway!
Tangier ready for action
I can't promise that this is the view from behind the goal but let's hope the action on the field is as eye-catching as this.
Teams emerging from the tunnel
It's almost time to go! The teams are on the pitch having come out to....Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.
There's no escape.
Who is Auckland City head coach Albert Riera?
Remember Albert Riera, who played for Liverpool, Manchester City and Espanyol? Well, it's not that Albert Riera, it's a different one.
He's been in New Zealand since 2011 and played for the club in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup. The 39-year-old finished his playing career in 2021 and took over as manager not long after, winning the Northern League last year.
Who is Al Ahly head coach Marcel Koller?
Swiss and German soccer fans may be familiar with the name Marcel Koller, who hails from Zürich. He spent the entirety of his playing career at Grasshoppers in his home city and coached FC Basel, Cologne and the Austrian national team before taking charge at Al Ahly in 2022. His only trophy in Cairo so far was an Egyptian Super Cup, which the club won in October.
Tonight's venue: Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangiers
Speaking of the stadium, here's a cracking little video from Al Ahly's English Twitter account giving us a look around Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangiers.
Al Ahly vs Auckland City...game on!
It appears that Auckland City have indeed arrived at the stadium. Phew!
Auckland City at the FIFA Club World Cup
If you thought Al Ahly, with eight appearances, were veterans, then you should try Auckland City. They've featured in the competition on no fewer than nine occasions - this is their tenth - but the poor New Zealanders have always had a tough ride and usually had to start in round one. This is their first appearance in the tournament since 2017. Their best result was picking up a bronze medal in 2014 thanks to a penalty shootout victory over Mexicans Cruz Azul after a 1-1 draw. They had been beaten by Argentinian side San Lorenzo in the semi-finals.
Al Ahly at the FIFA Club World Cup
Given their huge success in Africa, you'll be unsurprised to learn that Al Ahly have featured in the FIFA Club World Cup on numerous occasions. Eight to be precise, with their first appearance coming in 2005. Winning the third-place playoffs three times has been the highlight of their Club World Cup adventures.
Beaten semi-finalists in 2006, 2020 and 2021, they defeated Mexican side Club América, Palmeiras of Brazil (on penalties) and Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal respectively to take bronze medals home.
Auckland City team to play Al Ahly
Not that they have confirmed it anywhere on social media - maybe they're stuck in traffic - but I have it on good authority that this is the Auckland City line-up:
Tracey; Mitchell, Boxall, Murati, Lobo; Howieson, Garriga, Manickum, Tade, Den Heijer; de Vries.
Also 4-5-1. Hmmm, two teams playing 4-5-1...that doesn't mean it's going to be defensive or dull, I promise!
Al Ahly team to play Auckland City
For those of you lucky enough to speak Arabic, you can skip to the next post. For those of you who don't, it's:
El Shenawy; Metwalli; Maaloul, Abdelmonem, Hany; Fathi, Abdelkader, El Shahat, Dieng, El Solia; Sherif.
4-5-1 for the Egyptians.
Who are Auckland City?
While Al Ahly were founded in 1907, Auckland City's beginnings date back to as recently as 2004. And they've done pretty well since then, winning the 'regular season' title on no less than 12 occasions and being crowned overall champions at the end of the 'final series' nine times.
They won a record seven consecutive OFC Champions League titles between 2011 and 2017, which means they know their way around a Club World Cup. In their history, they've never finished lower than third in the league and that's happened only once, all the way back in the crisis season of 2006-07.
Who are Al Ahly?
I'm going to assume that some of you reading are less familiar with Al Ahly than you would be with, say, Real Madrid. So let's see if we can have a quick crash course on the Egyptian club.
Let's not mess around here: Cairo-based Al Ahly are a BIG deal. They're one of the most successful clubs in the world in terms of major trophies and by far the most successful in Egypt having amassed 42 league titles, 37 domestic cups and 12 super cups. On top of that, they've mastered the African continent (10 CAF Champions League titles, one CAF Confederation Cup, a record of eight CAF Super Cups, a record of four African Cup Winners' Cups, one Afro-Asian Club Championship, one Arab Club Champions Cup, one Arab Cup Winners' Cup and a record of two Arab Super Cups).
I feel like I've written the world 'cup' a lot there.
Will Auckland City turn up...?
I quickly nipped over to the Auckland City Twitter account just to see if they would prove my point. They're in Tangier but this snap was taking after a training session this morning.
Which begs the question...will they turn up for the game?? Suspense...
Al Ahly and the universal language of "we're here!"
Please excuse my poor Arabic but something tells me that Al Ahly have arrived at Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangier for Wednesday's clash. If you haven't announced your arrival at the ground on social media, are you really there?
How does the FIFA Club World Cup work?
I know what you're thinking. Seven teams seems like an odd number (literally) of teams to take part in a competition. So, how does it work?
There are four rounds:
1st round (1 February):
Al Ahly vs Auckland City. The winner progresses to the second round to take on Seattle Sounders.
2nd round (4 February):
Al Ahly/Auckland City vs Seattle Sounders. The winner goes through to the semi-finals to face Real Madrid.
Wydad Casablanca vs Al Hilal. The winner goes through to the semi-finals to face Flamengo.
Semi-finals (7-8 February):
No mystery here. The semi-finals winners face each other in the final.
Final (11 February):
Let's be honest and say FIFA are hoping for a Real Madrid vs Flamengo final, which would attract the most viewers and is basically the reason they start in the semi-finals. The match will take place in Rabat on 11 February, directly after the third-place playoff.
Which teams are taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup?
Seven teams from six different confederations are taking part in the FIFA Club World Cup:
Real Madrid (Spain) - UEFA (2021-22 Champions League winners)
Flamengo (Brazil) - CONMEBOL (2022 Copa Libertadores winners)
Seattle Sounders (USA) - CONCACAF (2022 CONCACAF Champions League winners)
Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) - CAF (2021-22 CAF Champions League winners)
Al Ahly (Egypt) -CAF (hosts and 2021-22 CAF Champions League runners-up)
Auckland City (New Zealand) - OFC (2022 OFC Champions League winners)
Al Hilal - Nominated by AFC
The champions of the different confederations...plus Al Hilal. The AFC Champions League won't be over until May. No pressure to win it, lads.
The FIFA Club World Cup kicks off in Morocco
The FIFA Club World Cup takes place in Rabat and Tangier in Morocco from 1-11 February and brings together the 'top' clubs from the different continents around the globe. Let's take a look at which teams are involved and how it works.
Al Ahly vs Auckland City: Times, how to watch on TV, stream online | FIFA Club World Cup 2023
Of course, you may be looking for a way to watch the game, in which case, you are bang in luck. If you’re watching from the United States, there is a way and this is it!
What time does Al Ahly vs Auckland City kick off?
Wednesday’s clash gets underway at 8pm local time in Morocco, that’s 2pm ET and 11am PT. Over the course of the next 90 minutes, I’ll be bringing you build-up, team news and plenty, plenty more, although I've no doubt you'll be very familiar with these two teams already...
Hello and welcome to Al Ahly vs Auckland City!
The FIFA Club World Cup 2022 is upon us! I know what you’re thinking…it’s 2023, I’m living in the past. Let’s just call it the FIFA Club World Cup and be done with it.
Thanks for joining me (Roddy) for the opening game of the competition as Al Ahly take on Auckland Cityin the first round, for the right to play Seattle Sounders in the second round, for the right to play Real Madrid in the semi-final, for the right to play…
I’ll explain fully in a moment...
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