Home Sports Al-Ittihad to meet Auckland City in first-round of Club World Cup clash on Tuesday  

Al-Ittihad to meet Auckland City in first-round of Club World Cup clash on Tuesday  



Arabian Weekly report

JEDDAH — Al-Ittihad of Jeddah, the defending Saudi Pro League champions, will face off against New Zealand’s Auckland City in the opening match of the 20th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Club World Cup tournament will be kicked off at 9:00 pm on Tuesday with a first-round clash between Al-Ittihad, featuring Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Fabinho, and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) champions Auckland City at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah.

Al-Ittihad is participating in the tournament for the second time in its history, after participating in the 2005 edition held in Japan, after winning the Saudi Roshn League last season, while Auckland is playing in the competition for the 11th time in its history. Auckland has set a record as the club with the most participation in the Club World Cup, after winning the OFC Champions League title this year.

The winner of Tuesday’s match will meet Friday with Al-Ahly of Egypt, the title holder of the African Champions League, in the second round of the World Cup, which portends the possibility of a new all-Arab confrontation taking place in the tournament, if Al-Ittihad wins the match.

Al-Ittihad is seeking to reconcile its fans, who were disappointed by the team’s poor performance in the current season in the Saudi League, where it is currently in the fifth place with 28 points from 16 matches, 16 points behind Al-Hilal of Riyadh.

On the other hand, Auckland’s most prominent achievement in the tournament was winning third place in the 2014 edition in Morocco. During its trip to the Club World Cup, Auckland previously played seven matches against Arab teams, during which it defeated Moghreb Tetouan of Morocco 4-3, ES Setif of Algeria 1-0, and Shabab Al-Ahly of Dubai 2-0. The New Zealand team lost to Raja Casablanca of Morocco 1-2, and to Al-Ahly of Egypt 2-0 and 3-0, and also lost to Al-Jazira of the United Arab Emirates 1-0.

As the world turns its gaze towards Jeddah, the other club champions participating in the FIFA Club World Cup tournament include Leòn (Mexico), Al Ahly (Egypt), Urwa Red Diamonds (Japan), and Manchester City (England). The King Abdullah Sports City Stadium and the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Sports City Stadium in Jeddah are hosting the Club World Cupwhich will be held from December 12 to 22.


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