Friday 04 February 2022, 12:00

Familiar foes Al Ahly and Monterrey clash in second round

  • Al Ahly-Monterrey will decide who plays Palmeiras in the semi-finals

  • It will also become the most-played fixture in FIFA Club World Cup history

  • Monterrey and Al Ahly finished third in 2019 and 2020 respectively

After a roaring start on Thursday, the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021™ continues with Al Ahly taking on Monterrey on Saturday. Only Auckland City have more appearances in the competition than the Egyptians, who are set to appear for the seventh time, while the Mexicans are set to overtake compatriots Pachuca as Concacaf’s most prolific participants in the competition with a fifth campaign.

Al Ahly-Monterrey

Saturday, 5 February, 20:30 in Abu Dhabi

Talking Points

Familiar foes With 12 combined appearances in the competition, the two sides’ paths cross for the third time. They first encountered in the third-place play-off in 2012, with Monterrey collecting bronze thanks to goals from Jesus Manuel Corona and Cesar Delgado. The following year, they locked horns again in the fifth-place decider, with the Mexicans running riot in a 5-1 victory, Al Ahly’s heaviest defeat in the competition. Al Ahly’s absent hero The Egyptian powerhouse’s hopes of replicating their heroics of Qatar 2020 were dealt a blow with the injury of their captain and goalkeeper Mohammed El Shenawy. The 32-year-old was Al Ahly’s hero last time around, saving two penalties against Palmeiras to lead his side to third place, their best-ever result in the competition.

Aguirre’s homecoming Saturday’s encounter at Al Nahyan Stadium marks an emotional comeback for Monterrey coach Javier Aguirre. The 63-year-old had spent two seasons at the ground, home of Emirati side Al Wahda, leading them to two domestic trophies in 2016 and 2017. And while Aguirre can expect a hero’s welcome in Abu Dhabi, there will be a few former charges lining up on the opposite side of the man who led the Egyptian national team for one year between 2018 and 2019.

The Stats

3 Al Ahly and Monterrey are set to clash for the third time at the Club World Cup, which will make it the most-played fixture in its history.

4 The four-goal difference in Monterrey’s 5-1 win over Al Ahly in the fifth-place play-off at Morocco 2013 is the joint-largest winning margin in the competition’s history. 16 Saturday’s match will be Al Ahly’s 16th at the Club World Cup, pipping New Zealand’s Auckland City for most matches played in the competition. Meanwhile, it will be Monterrey’s 11th Club World Cup game, placing them fourth, one game behind Real Madrid.

The quotes

“This is the biggest tournament for our team, and as long as it is 11 v 11 on the pitch, we will give it our best. We don’t have the best record against Monterrey, but we want to change that.” Pitso Mosimane, Al Ahly coach “I am delighted to be here in Abu Dhabi again, the city has been home for me, and of course to play at Al Nahyan Stadium, where I coached Al Wahda, is very special.” Javier Aguirre, Monterrey coach