Football: Real played with fire against Al Ahly, says unhappy Ancelotti

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr. celebrating with teammates after scoring his team's opening goal in the 4-1 Club World Cup semi-final win over Al Ahly on Wednesday. PHOTO: AFP

RABAT – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was not pleased with his team’s attitude during their 4-1 win over Al Ahly in the Club World Cup semi-final on Wednesday, suggesting that they played with fire in a match they should have finished off earlier.

After Vinicius Jr and Federico Valverde scored either side of half-time, Real wasted several chances to extend the lead and the Egyptian side got a lifeline when they earned a penalty which was converted by Ali Maaloul.

“When we were leading 2-0 (early in the second half), we thought that the game was over and started to dribble a little too much,” Ancelotti told a news conference on Wednesday.

“This is a tournament that Real Madrid have a lot to lose and a nothing to win,” the Italian added.

“We thought that the game was won 2-0 and things are not like that, we have relaxed and it cannot be like that.”

Mohamed Afsha missed a sitter that would have been the equaliser for Al Ahly, giving the Spanish giants a real scare.

Although Real’s Luka Modric missed a penalty three minutes from the end of the game, Rodrygo and substitute Sergio Arribas completed what ended up a comfortable win in stoppage time.

“We have not won easily but we have won quite well,” Ancelotti said.

“You have to play well and concentrate until the end of the match. We went through a few tough minutes until Modric’s penalty.”

Real, who are second in La Liga behind Barcelona, face Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in the final in Rabat on Saturday after they shocked South American champions Flamengo 3-2 in the first semi-final.

Flamengo coach Vitor Pereira had blamed the loss on Tuesday on the refereeing, which according to him, was one-sided.

“We were ready to play Al Hilal but were not ready for refereeing that was not up to the standards of the competition,” the Portuguese manager told a news conference in Tangier on Tuesday.

“It was provocative refereeing and if it weren’t for the personality of our players, I’m convinced that we would end the game with more red cards.”

Meanhile, Ancelotti confirmed that forward Karim Benzema and defender Eder Militao, who stayed behind in Madrid for treatment of their injuries, will join the team on Thursday and could be available for the final.

He said: “Neither are fully recovered. Karim (Benzema) is quite well but with Militao there are more doubts.

“On Friday we will make the decisions. (Dani) Carvajal missed today’s match due to a fever and (Marco) Asensio due to a little overload, I think they will be ready for Al Hilal.” REUTERS

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