Only two teams left to join Real Madrid and Co at Club World Cup after Wydad Casablanca's qualification
Wydad to start competition at quarter-final stage and will take on Mexican side Pachuca at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City on December 9
Five of the seven teams have been confirmed for the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE next month, with a month to go until host representatives Al Jazira get the tournament under way.
On Saturday night, Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca booked their spot in the December 6-16 event, defeating Al Ahly of Egypt 1-0 in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final.
Having held the nine-time African champions to a 1-1 draw in Alexandria the previous week, Wydad took the tie 2-1 on aggregate. Walid El Karty struck the decisive goal at the Stade Mohammed V on 69 minutes, giving his club a second African title and first in 25 years.
The victory secured Wydad’s place at the Club World Cup, which takes place in the Emirates for the third time after the country successfully hosted the tournament in 2009 and 2010.
Wydad join the competition at the quarter-final stage and will take on Mexican side Pachuca at Abu Dhabi's Zayed Sports City on December 9.
The tournament is headlined by European champions Real Madrid, who return to the event they won last year looking to become the first team to retain the trophy. Zinedine Zidane’s side enter at the semi-finals, where they could potentially face Jazira at Zayed Sports City on December 13.
The UAE champions have to first negotiate a play-off against New Zealand’s Auckland City at Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on December 6 - the match that marks the event’s official kick-off.
Should Jazira get past the Oceania champions, they then take on the winners of the Asian Champions League. Decided later this month, the final pits together Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal and Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds. The two legs take place on November 18 and 25.
The tournament’s other remaining slot will be filled by the winners of this year’s Copa Libertadores. The final, played across two legs with the first on November 22 and the second one week later, will be contested between Brazil’s Gremio and Lanus of Argentina.
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Last week, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said that 75 per cent of tickets for the Club World Cup had already been sold. They announced that 90 per cent of tickets for the semi-finals and final are sold, but said they are working in conjunction with Fifa to confirm the final allocations for the remaining 10 per cent.
The LOC advised fans to monitor the tournament’s official website throughout the next few weeks.
Madrid are heavy favourites to triumph this year, despite an inconsistent start this season to their Primera Liga defence. Last year, they defeated Japan’s Kashima Antlers in extra time of the final in Yokohama to secure the title for a second time.
Updated: November 5, 2017 03:38 PM