- Real Madrid arrive in search of historic title defence
- Local favourties Al Jazira out to achieve fairy-tale win
- Victors to face one of Gremio or Pachuca in Saturday’s final
As the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 builds towards a crescendo, the reigning champions take to the stage in a bid to do what no one has done before – retain the trophy.
However, in Real Madrid’s way will be not only local champions Al Jazira, but also a legion of fans in Abu Dhabi who have managed to get one of the hottest tickets in town. Having secured two 1-0 wins so far, the local fans will no doubt be delighted if they can make it three out of three and perform a memorable giant killing.
The match Al Jazira vs Real Madrid
*Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi
*13 December, 21.00 local time
*What you need to know *While already arriving into the United Arab Emirates as favourites, *Real *also come into the encounter off the back of an impressive win, 5-0 against Sevilla, to see them leave the Santiago Bernabeu in buoyant mood. Young full-back Achraf Hakimi was on the scoresheet in that game but, in all likelihood, he will drop to the bench with the likes of Daniel Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Casemiro returning fresh after domestic suspensions.
Al Jazira will be all too aware of the problems they will face when the European champions come to town but will be hoping the likes of goalkeeper Ali Khaseif and centre-back Musallem Fayez can maintain their unblemished scoresheet so far. Having operated principally by soaking up pressure and striking on the counter attack, with Brazilian Romarinho being particularly pivotal in transition, they will hope to give Zinedine Zidane’s backline something to worry about.
*The stat 3: *Real Madrid arrive in UAE with the ambition of clinching a third Club World Cup title, an achievement which will see them equal bitter rivals Barcelona’s tally.
*The words *"We don’t just play as Jazira now, we play for the UAE. We know [Real Madrid] are one of the best teams in the world and this is incentive for all the players.”
Ali Mabkhout, Al Jazira
“Everyone thinks that it’ll be easy (in the United Arab Emirates), but it won’t be. We are going to travel tomorrow and we want to do a good job and win another trophy.”
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid