Follow us on
FIFA Club World Cup

Honour at stake for African and Asian champions

Abdelatif Noussir of Wydad Casablanca waits to walk out
© Getty Images
  • Urawa Reds finished third at 2007 Club World Cup
  • Wydad looking for first goal and first win in the competition
  • Asian teams have the edge over African sides in previous meetings 

African champions Wydad Athletic Club and their Asian counterparts Urawa Red Diamonds came to the United Arab Emirates intent on going as far as they could at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Both sides’ hopes were dashed in their opening games, however. While new boys Wydad went down to Pachuca in extra time, Urawa fell to a surprise defeat to UAE champions Al Jazira.

Instead of the semi-finals, they find themselves preparing for the match for fifth place, which would provide both clubs with a measure of consolation. That said, Urawa will be disappointed not to have matched the third place they achieved on their first tournament appearance ten years ago.

Follow #ClubWC

Instagram* | Facebook | Twitter*

The match
Wydad Athletic Club vs Urawa Red Diamonds
Tuesday 12 December, 18:00 local time
Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain

*What you need to know *
Wydad will hope to improve on their performance against Pachuca, a match in which the African champions failed to create many opportunities and had captain Brahim Nakach sent off in the 69th minute. The sizeable contingent of Wydad fans in the UAE are hoping the return of forward Mohammed Ounnajem from injury can give their side more of a cutting edge up front.

Urawa Reds dominated their match with Al Jazira but were unable to find the back of the net. All eyes were on Rafael Silva, the hero of the AFC Champions League final, but he could manage no more than two shots off target. Tuesday’s game will give Silva another opportunity to do what he does best: scoring goals and celebrating them in his own unique way.

The stat
*12: *Asian and African teams have met 12 times in the FIFA Club World Cup, with the clubs from the east winning nine of them. Two matches ended in draws, while Africa’s only normal-time victory came courtesy of Al Ahly of Egypt, who beat Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 in 2012.

The words
“If we’d managed to score in the first half against Al Jazira, everything would have been different. We’ve got one match left and we have to prepare well for it.”
Urawa coach Takafumi Hori

“Nakach getting sent off really hurt us in the first match. You always need to capitalise on mistakes and pay attention to the details. We’re going to try and win the next game and improve our placing in the competition.”
Wydad coach Hussein Amotta

Recommended Stories