Al Hilal, Chelsea in semi showdown as fifth is up for grabs
Al Hilal play Chelsea for a spot in the UAE 2021 final
The six-goal Saudis dazzled against Al Jazira in their previous game
Monterrey and Al Jazira battle it out for fifth place
Traveling without Tuchel Chelsea find themselves in Abu Dhabi without coach Thomas Tuchel, who tested positive for COVID-19 days before their opening match. Arno Michels took charge of the club’s FA Cup tie against Plymouth Argyle, their last fixture before arriving to Abu Dhabi, while Zsolt Low addressed the media on Tuesday ahead of the Al Hilal tie. Stick or twist puzzle for Jardim 'Never change a winning team' is a widely accepted football cliché, but following his side’s 6-1 win over Al Jazira, Al Hilal coach Leonardo Jardim finds himself faced with a few selection puzzles. Captain Salman Al Faraj returned to training following an injury, but it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to dislodge Gustavo Cuellar, while Andre Carrillo came off the bench to score from the spot and will compete with fellow marksmen Moussa Marega and Odion Ighalo for two spots on the right wing and up front.
Familiar place for Monterrey Monterrey are the only club in the competition’s history to finish fifth more than once. In 2011 they defeated Tunisian side Esperance 3-2 and two years later they beat Al Ahly 5-1 to finish fifth. This time they face hosts Al Jazira, whose only previous appearance in the competition saw them finish fourth in 2017. Can the Mexicans keep their habit and finish fifth for a third time?
5 Al Hilal playmaker Matheus Pereira has contributed five goals in two appearances against Chelsea while in West Bromwich Albion colours. The Brazilian set up the opener in a 3-3 draw at the Hawthorns and ran the show in the reverse fixture, with two goals and as many assists. 11 Teams from the AFC and UEFA have faced each other 11 times at the FIFA Club World Cup, with all matches ending in favour of the Europeans. The most recent encounter was Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Al Ain in the 2018 final.
22 Overall, Monterrey have scored 22 goals at the FIFA Club World Cup – only Real Madrid (31) and Barcelona (23) have scored more. Meanwhile, Al Jazira have conceded 11 goals in their last three games in the competition.
“It hurt a lot to lose the final in 2012. It took us ten years to be back here, and we have the chance to create our own history and be the first group to win it for Chelsea. We have to realise how difficult it is to be here playing against champions of each continent.” Cesar Azpilicueta, Chelsea captain “Monterrey is one of the biggest teams in Mexico and in their region also, they have great players and we all saw how they controlled their first match in the tournament against Al Ahly. We have to be careful and smart when we meet them on Wednesday night.” Marcel Keizer, Al Jazira coach