Al Ahly defeated Auckland City 2-0 to begin their campaign to improve upon back-to-back bronze medals at the FIFA Club World Cup FIFA CWC.
The Kiwitea Street underdogs performed admirably, but goals from Hussein Elshahat, Mohamed Sherif, and Percy Tau secured a matchup between Seattle Sounders and Cairo giants on Saturday.
Against the current African Club of the Century, the first half most definitely didn’t look like amateurs.
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Nathan Lobo, a left wingback, was a continuous pain for Ahly, while Emiliano Tade, Cameron Howieson, and Ryan De Vries all demonstrated that they could succeed against top competition.
Elshahat’s shot from just outside the box beat an unsighted Conor Tracey to give Marcel Koller’s team the lead just as it seemed like Auckland would enter halftime tied.
In the second period, Ahly immediately displayed their significant strength. The crowd was roused from their seats by a lavish Ahmed Abdelkader nutmeg, and Sherif then made it 2-0 with a slick finish after sliding past the Auckland defense.
That all but ended the fight, but Percy Tau, a substitute, still had time to add gloss to the score with a deft dinked finish at the conclusion of an excellent, fluid team play.
A VAR review did at least overturn a penalty award for the same incident, with the result being broadcast to the audience for the first time. However, late into stoppage time, Adam Mitchell was given the red card for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity.