Today's picks

    Al Jazira 1 Urawa Reds 0: Mabkhout books Real Madrid clash

    Al Jazira booked a Club World Cup semi-final against Real Madrid by beating Urawa Reds 1-0 on Saturday.
    The Emirati side defeated Auckland City 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament and triumphed by the same scoreline, on their Dutch coach Henk ten Cate’s 63rd birthday, to set up a glamour tie in the last four.
    Ali Mabkhout scored the only goal of a tight game at Zayed Sports City Stadium, the Emirati forward racing clear seven minutes into the second half to slot a precise finish past Japanese goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.
    The AFC Champions League winners could not break Al Jazira’s stubborn defence down, although Shinzo Koroki missed a great first-half chance, with Tomoaki Makino and Yuki Moto both wasting decent opportunities to score after the break.
    Despite late heavy pressure from the Japanese side – Rafael da Silva hit the outside of the post with two minutes to go – home advantage helped the Abu Dhabi club to close out the victory and set up a clash with European champions and Club World Cup holders Madrid on Wednesday.
    Copa Libertadores champions Gremio will play Pachuca in the other Club World Cup semi-final after the Mexican outfit beat 10-man Wydad Casablanca 1-0, thanks to an extra-time goal from Victor Guzman.

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