Corinthians progress to Club World Cup final
Corinthians booked a Club World Cup final meeting with Chelsea or Monterrey by surviving a spirited Al Ahly fightback to win 1-0 in Toyota.
Paolo Guerrero scored what proved to be the only goal shortly before the half-hour mark but the Copa Libertadores winners found themselves firmly under the cosh for most of the remaining hour of play.
Al Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy was guilty of wasting precious time for the Egyptian champions in the second half, delaying his own inevitable substitution due to injury and disrupting his team's rhythm as Ramy Rabia, Mohamed Aboutrika and Walid Soliman attempted to force extra-time.
Rabia had showed his promise in the early stages, racing onto Soliman's free-kick to head just wide of Cassio's goal, but Corinthians soon seized the initiative.
Danilo and Fabio Santos both conspired to miss from close range but Guerrero had the ball in the back of the net in the 29th minute, the Peruvian heading home Douglas' lofted cross to get the 15,000 travelling Brazilian fans in the party mood.
Al Ahly tried to squeeze in an equaliser before the break but Fabio Santos broke up a fine passing move between Soliman and Ahmed Fathi.
The Egyptians made a positive start to a second period that they would dominate, Soliman slightly over-hitting a pass to Geddo at the far post. Ekramy soon slumped to the ground in his own penalty area, with medics tending to a suspected leg injury for several minutes, but the Al Ahly keeper decided to continue.
Rabia powered his way into a central position to fire narrowly wide of Cassio's goal following fine work from substitute Aboutrika, but the heavy pressure soon dissipated as Ekramy decided to call time on his own contribution after all.
The protracted distraction over, Al Ahly got back into their groove but could not carve out the equaliser their creative play deserved. Fathi struck the side netting from Aboutrika's defence-splitting pass, before the veteran striker saw his own firm effort deflected behind for a corner ahead of Soliman's long-range drive, which dipped wide.
With four minutes remaining, Rabia roamed into the box one final time, finding the space to clip home a late leveller but instead firing over the bar to hand Corinthians a first final appearance since 2000.
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