Al Ahly's dream run continues at Club World Cup

Story highlights

  • Al Ahly and Monterrey qualify for semifinals of Club World Cup in Japan
  • African champions Al Ahly win 2-1 against home team Sanfrecce Hiroshima
  • Captain Hossam Ghaly set to miss Corinthians clash due to serious knee injury
  • Mexico's Monterrey will take on European champions Chelsea of England

Al Ahly's incredible journey continued on Sunday as the Egyptian soccer side reached the semifinals of the Club World Cup in Japan.

While back home protesters demonstrated against President Mohamed Morsy's planned constitutional referendum, Al Ahly set up a clash with South American champions Corinthians on Thursday.

"Ahly fans can now dream of reaching the final. We, too, dream of this, and we'll do our best to clinch the title," coach Hossam El-Badry told the club's television channel after a 2-1 victory over J-League winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

With the Egyptian league suspended since the deaths of more than 70 fans at Ahly's match in Port Said in February, it is a miracle the Cairo team has got this far.

Read: Ultras seek justice for fan deaths

Ahly qualified for the tournament by winning the African title for a record-extending seventh time last month, when the second leg in Tunisia was played the same day that more than 50 children died in a train accident in Egypt.

Goal line technology gets rave reviews
A FIFA official displays new goal-line technology, developed by GoalRef, for the press in Yokohama on December 5, 2012 ahead the Club World Cup football tournament beginning on December 6. The wrist watch displays 'goal' and vibrates whenever the ball enters the goal. Referees can reject the use of goal-line technology or even overrule it in the Club World Cup, which starts this week in Japan, a senior FIFA official said on December 5. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

    JUST WATCHED

    Goal line technology gets rave reviews

MUST WATCH

Goal line technology gets rave reviews 02:42

Most of its home games in the African Champions League were played behind closed doors due to security fears, while the first leg of the final was held at a military facility near Alexandria.

"#Ahly is the only entity that can unite millions behind it on one opinion, hope, and dream," one fan wrote on Twitter after Sunday's game in Toyota.

Veteran Mohamed Aboutrika scored a second-half winner in a match marred by a serious injury to the man he replaced -- Ahly's captain and key playmaker Hossam Ghaly.

Battling snowy, cold conditions Ahly took the lead after 15 minutes when Hiroshima's replacement goalkeeper Takuya Masuda was given no chance by Elsayed Hamdi.

Masuda had been forced into the fray in just the fifth minute when regular No. 1 Shusaku Nishikawa was carried off with a facial injury after colliding with Ahly striker Gedo.

The home side equalized after Ahly captain Ghaly went off with a suspected ruptured knee ligament, as the J-League's leading scorer Hisato Sato netted in the 32nd minute.

Aboutrika, playing at the tournament for the fourth time, scored his fourth goal to go level with record-holders Lionel Messi of Argentina and former Brazil international Denilson.

Ahly also reached the semifinals in 2006, losing to Brazilian side Internacional before winning the third-place playoff against Mexico's Club America.

"The Corinthians are a great team. We'll do our best to get a positive result and dedicate the title to the victims of the Port Said stadium disaster," said the 34-year-old Aboutrika, who was also in the 2006 team.

Inside Port Said stadium
Inside Port Said stadium

    JUST WATCHED

    Inside Port Said stadium

MUST WATCH

Inside Port Said stadium 02:14
Egypt on edge after soccer riots
Fans of Egyptian club Al-Ahly protest in Cairo after 79 fans were killed in violent clashes in the city of Port Said.

    JUST WATCHED

    Egypt on edge after soccer riots

MUST WATCH

Egypt on edge after soccer riots 03:03

"Playing with Brazilian opponents is always interesting for me. Also, Brazil is a great thing for me, especially since I dream of reaching the World Cup there with the national team."

Mexican team Monterrey also qualified for the semifinals, setting up a clash with European champions Chelsea on Thursday by beating Asian titleholders Ulsan Hyundai 3-1.

Monterrey, winners of the CONCACAF Champions League last season, took the lead in the ninth minute through 19-year-old winger Jesus Corona while former Argentina international Cesar Delgado added two late goals.

The Korean side scored an 88th-minute consolation through 2012 Asian player of the year Lee Keunho, whose long-range shot eluded keeper Jonathan Orozco.

        Football Focus

      • French football great bids adieu

        After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
      • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

        He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
      • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

        Loss of a South African 'icon'

        Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
      • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

        From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

        Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
      • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

        One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
      • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

        Should rapist return to work?

        Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
      • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

        Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.