West Asia Saudi Arabia

Al-Hilal Beaten by Real Madrid in Roller-Coaster CWC Final

Saudi Arabian powerhouses Al-Hilal lost out on the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup title after losing a roller-coaster final 5-3 to Spanish giants Real Madrid in Saturday’s final at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, Morocco.

Nominated into the tournament as winners of the 2021 AFC Champions League, Al-Hilal knocked out 2022 CAF Champions League winners and tournament hosts Wydad Casablanca as well as 2022 Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo of Brazil to become only the third Asian side to reach the Club World Cup final, while 2022 UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid thrashed 2022 CAF Champions League runners-up Al-Ahly from Egypt to have their fifth Club World Cup title firmly within their sights.

Coming into the match as huge favorites, Madrid raced to a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes thanks to a 13th minute strike from Vinicius Junior and an 18th minute goal from Federico Valverde, before former FC Porto striker Moussa Marega pulled one back for Al-Hilal in the 26th minute.

Karim Benzema scored in the 54th minute to restore Madrid’s two-goal advantage, before Valverde completed his brace four minutes afterwards to make it 4-1.

Former Villarreal man Luciano Vietto reduced the deficit for Al-Hilal in the 63rd minute, however Vinicius scored his second of the game six minutes later to put the result beyond doubt for Madrid, leaving Vietto’s second goal in the 79th minute as mere consolation for the Saudis.

Madrid’s fifth Club World Cup title ensured that European teams maintained their stranglehold over the tournament, with UEFA Champions League winners having won the last ten editions of the Club World Cup. In that timeframe Madrid won five times, Bayern Munich won twice, while Barcelona, Liverpool, and Chelsea won once each.

Interestingly, the last two Asian teams to reach the Club World Cup final were also beaten by Madrid. Japan’s Kashima Antlers lost 4-2 after extra-time in the 2016 final having drawn the Spanish giants 2-2 after 90 minutes, while Al-Ain were thrashed 4-1 in the 2018 final.