Al Ahly 1-4 Real Madrid: Los Blancos cruise into record-setting fifth Club World Cup final
Real Madrid reached a record fifth Club World Cup final with a resounding 4-1 win over Al Ahly in Wednesday's semi-final in Rabat.
African champions Al Ahly had their fair share of chances, but Madrid's superior quality ensured they had enough to see them off and set up a date with Al-Hilal in Saturday's final.
Madrid broke the deadlock with Vinicius Junior's dinked finish in the 42nd minute, before Federico Valverde gave the Champions League winners a 2-0 lead just after the interval.
Al Ahly halved the arrears through Ali Maaloul's penalty before Luka Modric saw a spot-kick of his own saved, but Rodrygo and Sergio Arribas got on the scoresheet in stoppage time to leave Madrid eyeing a record fifth world title.
After a cagey opening that gave Al Ahly encouragement, opportunities flowed at both ends.
Mohamed Sherif and Mohamed Abdelmonem both went close for Al Ahly, before Vinicius tested Mohamed El-Shenawy from a tight angle.
Rodrygo then hit the left-hand post from a similar situation soon after, but Madrid did net just prior to half-time.
Aliou Dieng's pass gave Mahmoud Metwaly too much to do and Vinicius pounced, lifting an impudent finish over the approaching El-Shenawy.
Valverde then showed great composure to score from close range after El-Shenawy parried Rodrygo's effort less than two minutes into the second period.
Al Ahly soon had renewed hope, though, Maaloul coolly converting a spot-kick after a clumsy trip by Eduardo Camavinga on Hussein El Shahat.
Modric spurned the chance to restore Madrid's two-goal lead with a penalty of his own towards the end, but his failure mattered little.
Rodrygo's cheeky finish in stoppage time put the game beyond Al Ahly, before Sergio Arribas found the bottom-right corner to open his account for the senior side.
What does it mean? Los Blancos meet expectations
Al Ahly deserve praise for their performance, and the scoreline did flatter Madrid – but in the end Carlo Ancelotti's men prevailed because they were more clinical.
For a moment it looked like Modric's penalty woe could be just what the Egyptians needed, but Madrid continued to attack and managed to exploit their opponents' desperation late on.
Madrid go through to the final and will be big favourites to take the title, but this game might offer upcoming opponents Al-Hilal some encouragement – as long as they ignore the scoreline.
Rodrygo catches the eye
The Brazilian is having a very good season and this was the latest in a long line of solid performances.
Rodrygo's three key passes was a joint-high for the match, while no one matched his six shots. In terms of Madrid being on the attack, he seemed to be everywhere.
Lunin makes a statement
With Thibaut Courtois absent through injury, this was another chance for Andriy Lunin to impress – and he certainly did.
There was not much he could have done to stop the penalty, but otherwise Madrid's stand-in goalkeeper made four saves, some of which proved crucial.
Madrid face Al-Hilal in Rabat in Saturday's final.