x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Club World Cup: Al Ahly have respect of Corinthians

South American champions are not jumping the gun by focusing on the summit clash before they can beat Egypt's African giants in the Club World Cup semi-finals.

Corinthians' Alessandro during a training session in Toyota. Shizuo Kambayashi / AP Photo
Corinthians' Alessandro during a training session in Toyota. Shizuo Kambayashi / AP Photo

The Corinthians defender Alessandro insists the Copa Libertadores winners will not be taking African champions Al Ahly lightly when the teams meet in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup tomorrow.

"We don't have any leeway to think about the final yet," Alessandro said today. "We have to focus on the game tomorrow and respect the teams that made it to this tournament."

Corinthians won the Club World Cup in 2000 and arrive in Japan having become the first unbeaten Copa Libertadores champions since 1978, recording eight wins and six draws on the way to the title.

They are seeking to become the first side other than Barcelona to win the competition for a second time.

The Corinthians coach Tite, who previously managed the UAE sides Al Ain and Al Wahda, is now in his second stint at the Sao Paolo club, having made his return in the second half of 2010.

"There are high expectations from our fans," he said. "We have one million of them and need to keep them happy. Some have left their jobs and families to be here, so we need to perform well for them."

Al Alhy, the African champions, defeated the Japanese side Sanfrecce Hiroshima 2-1 in the quarter-finals.

The Egyptian side are appearing in their fourth Club World Cup, and Hossam El Badry, the team's coach, said he wants a repeat of the display that got them through their last-eight match.

"I've not had much time yet to really study Corinthians, but my team put in a really good performance against Sanfrecce and now we've got to turn our focus to the Brazilian side."

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