Karim Benzema missed a penalty as Al-Ittihad were knocked out of the Club World Cup by Egypt’s Al-Ahly, who cruised to a 3-1 victory in Jeddah.
Al-Ahly broke the deadlock in the 21st minute from the penalty spot after a handball by Al-Ittihad defender Hassan Kadesh. Left-back Ali Maâloul converted the penalty, but Al-Ittihad quickly earned their own spot-kick for handball. Benzema failed to score, however, his attempt brilliantly saved by Mohamed El Shenawy.
Marcelo Gallardo’s team fell further behind when Hussein El Shahat collected Kahraba’s pass and curled the ball into the net just before the hour mark. Kahraba then set up Emam Ashour to get the third goal from a quick counterattack.
Benzema scored a last-minute consolation, moments after substitute Anthony Modeste had been sent off for Al-Ahly, who will now face the Copa Libertadores winners, Fluminense, in the semi-finals on Monday.
Al-Ittihad, who earned a place in the Saudi-hosted tournament as the national champions, were well beaten despite including Benzema, N’Golo Kanté and Fabinho in their lineup. The big-spending side are fourth in the Saudi league, 19 points behind runaway leaders Al-Hilal.
Manchester City will begin their Club World Cup campaign on Tuesday against the Asian Champions League holders, Urawa Red Diamonds. The Japanese side beat the Concacaf title winners Léon earlier on Friday, with Dutch striker Alex Schalk scoring the only goal.
Pep Guardiola has said that both Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are fitness doubts for the European champions as they prepare to fly out to Saudi Arabia. Should City progress on Tuesday, they will play in the final next Friday.
Juve miss chance to go top with Genoa draw
Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw at Genoa in Serie A as Federico Chiesa’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Albert Gudmundsson after the break.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side took the lead after 28 minutes thanks to Chiesa, who made no mistake from the penalty spot after being brought down by the Genoa goalkeeper, Josep Martínez. The hosts levelled three minutes into the second half after a fine passing move set up Gudmundsson to fire past Wojciech Szczesny.
The visitors came close to a last-minute winner but Martínez made a brilliant save to keep out Bremer’s close-range effort after a corner. Juve stay in second place and are now a point behind leaders Internazionale, who visit Lazio on Sunday.
In Ligue 1, Lyon climbed off the bottom of the table after a shock win at third-placed Monaco. Jeffinho scored the late winner from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s cross to end Monaco’s unbeaten home run, leaving the hosts to rue a number of missed chances.
Borussia Mönchengladbach made it seven games unbeaten at home in all competitions, but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Werder Bremen in a mid-table Bundesliga clash. Rocco Reitz scored twice for the hosts, but Marvin Ducksch struck with 15 minutes left to earn Werder a point.
In Spain, Osasuna climbed away from danger thanks to Raúl García’s late winner at home to Rayo Vallecano. García headed home in the 95th minute to seal his side’s second home victory of the season, as Rayo’s winless run extended to seven games.
Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.