Al Ahly 0 Corinthians 1: Chelsea to meet South American champions in Club World Cup final if they beat Monterrey
15:25 GMT, 12 December 2012
Corinthians booked a Club World Cup final meeting with Chelsea or Monterrey by surviving a spirited Al Ahly fightback in Toyota today.
Paolo Guerrero scored the only goal shortly before the half-hour mark but the Copa Libertadores winners found themselves firmly under the cosh for most of the remaining hour of play.
Strong start: Paolo Guerrero netted on the half hour mark
Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy was guilty of wasting precious time for the Egyptian champions in the second half, delaying his own inevitable substitution due to injury and disrupting his team’s rhythm as Ramy Rabia, Mohamed Aboutrika and Walid Soliman attempted to force extra-time.
Rabia had showed his promise in the early stages, racing onto Soliman’s free-kick to head just wide of Cassio’s goal, but Corinthians soon seized the initiative.
High hopes: Guerrero rises to beat the Al Ahly goalkeeper
Danilo and Fabio Santos both conspired
to miss from close range but Guerrero had the ball in the back of the
net in the 29th minute, the Peruvian heading home Douglas’ lofted cross
to get the 15,000 travelling Brazilian fans in the party mood.
Al Ahly tried to squeeze in an equaliser before the break but Fabio Santos broke up a fine passing move between Soliman and Ahmed Fathi.
Home support: Fans in Sao Paulo celebrate the win
The Egyptians made a positive start to a second period that they would dominate, Soliman slightly over-hitting a pass to Geddo at the far post.
Ekramy soon slumped to the ground in his own penalty area, with medics tending to a suspected leg injury for several minutes, but the Al Ahly keeper decided to continue.
Under the cosh: Corinthians spent much of the game defending their lead
Rabia powered his way into a central position to fire narrowly wide of Cassio’s goal following fine work from substitute Aboutrika, but the heavy pressure soon dissipated as Ekramy decided to call time on his own contribution after all.
The protracted distraction over, Al Ahly got back into their groove but could not carve out the equaliser their creative play deserved.
Job done: Corinthians have booked their place in the final
Fathi struck the side netting from Aboutrika’s defence-splitting pass, before the veteran striker saw his own firm effort deflected behind for a corner ahead of Soliman’s long-range drive, which dipped wide.
With four minutes remaining, Rabia roamed into the box one final time, finding the space to clip home a late leveller but instead firing over the bar to hand Corinthians a first final appearance since 2000.