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Feb 5, 2022 at 4.30pm UK
Al Ahly
1 - 0
Hany (54')
Maghraby (31'), Magdi (66'), Lotfi (77'), Rabia (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Al Ahly vs. Monterrey - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Al Ahly vs. Monterrey - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Club World Cup clash between Al Ahly and Monterrey, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Al Ahly and Monterrey will battle for a place in the Club World Cup semi-final when they meet in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The two sides earned their places in this year's competitions with triumphs in the CAF Champions League and CONCACAF Champions League respectively last season, with the winners set to take on Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras next week.

Match preview

Al Ahly booked their place in the Club World Cup by winning their 10th CAF Champions League and a second consecutively, culminating in Morocco.

After cruising through the group stage, El Mared El Ahmar defeated Mamelodi Sundowns and Esperance de Tunis in two-legged affairs on their route to the final, with a clash against South African giants Kaizer Chiefs the only remaining obstacle between themselves and a 10th title.

Following a dominant showing, Pitso Mosimane's side came out with a 3-0 victory in Casablanca thanks to goals from Mohamed Sherif, Mohamed Magdy and Amr El Solia.

After an unbeaten start to the league season to top the Egyptian top flight, El Mared El Ahmar defeated Raja Casablanca in the CAF Super Cup in December, coming out on top in a penalty shootout after a 90th-minute equaliser courtesy of Taher Mohamed.

They now head into a second straight Club World Cup looking to improve on last year's bid, when they fell short in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, eventually beating Palmeiras in the third-place playoff.

Mosimane's men take on a Monterrey side who are returning to the competition after last appearing in 2019.

After a third-placed finish that time around, the Rayados announced themselves back on the global scene this year as they lifted the CONCACAF Champions League trophy, firstly cruising through the first two rounds before meeting Mexican rivals Cruz Azul in the semi-final.

A 4-1 thrashing in the second leg saw them progress to the final, and a single Rogelio Funes Mori goal made the difference in their 1-0 triumph over Mexican giants Club America at their Monterrey home in October.

Now on the back of a disappointing Apertura stage of the domestic campaign, finishing ninth in the Liga MX, Javier Aguirre's side will look to bounce back to form with a win on Saturday to reach this year's semi-final.

Al Ahly Club World Cup form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D

Monterrey Club World Cup form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D

Team News

Al Ahly will have to battle through the disadvantage of heading into the Club World Cup with their side ravaged by call-ups to Egypt's Africa Cup of Nations squad.

Goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, defenders Ayman Ashraf and Akram Tawfik and midfielders Amr El Solia and Hamdi Fathi are all on international duty, leaving Mosimane in an unenviable position looking to fill the gaps in his team.

Perhaps most worryingly, they are also without star forward Mohamed Sherif, who netted the winner in the CAF Champions League final, with Hossam Hassan and Percy Tau potentially set to lead the attack in his absence.

In a parallel to their opponents, Monterrey have five players away with the Mexican national team, with key defenders Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo and Cesar Montes all absent alongside midfielder Luis Romo, while Joel Campbell is on duty for Costa Rica.

Similarly, their key attacker is also unavailable, with Rogelio Funes Mori, who has hit 133 goals for the club including the CONCACAF Champions League decider, leading the line for El Tri in their bid to reach the World Cup, with former Tottenham Hotspur forward Vincent Janssen the likely replacement.

While defender Stefan Medina was sent off in their last league game, his suspension will instead carry over to the next domestic outing with the full-back available to feature on Saturday.

Al Ahly possible starting lineup:
Lotfi; Rabia, Benoun, Koka; Hany, Dieng, Magdy, Miquissone; Tau, Hassan, Abdelkader

Monterrey possible starting lineup:
Andrada; Medina, Gutierrez, Vegas, Aguirre; Ortiz, Rodriguez, Gonzalez; Meza, Janssen, Vergara

We say: Al Ahly 1-2 Monterrey

The hits to both teams due to international call-ups create a somewhat level playing field, but, with the remaining squads, the Mexican giants look stronger on paper.

In what should certainly be a close affair, we just give Monterrey the edge and fancy them to book their place in next week's semi-final.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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