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Ramón Díaz show in the Club World Cup: he put Al-Hilal in the semis and in the preview he left a wink for River fans


His team defeated Wydad on penalties and now goes against Flamengo. Before the crossing, the DT gave a note and recalled the superclassic final in Madrid.

“Because of the conditions the team is in, I think we are going to pass the first game”, Ramón Ángel Díaz

had predicted, with boundless confidence


The reference was to the duel that his team,


, was going to play with


for the quarterfinals of the

Club World Cup


The prognosis of the linguist from La Rioja came true, although not without suffering: the Saudis prevailed 5-3 in the penalty shootout after drawing 1-1 with the Moroccans in Rabat and thus advanced to the semifinals of this contest, in the who were fourth in their two previous participations, in 2019 and 2021.

On Tuesday they will meet Flamengo in Tangier for a ticket in the final.


was brimming with confidence

on the eve of Al-Hilal's debut in the competition, the team he has led since February 2022, which he had already directed between October 2016 and February 2018, and with which he won four titles in his two cycles: three Saudi leagues (2017, 2018 and 2022) and a Custody of the Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup (2017).

“This is the biggest club in Asia.

We are in a super competitive team, which allows you to choose the players you want and also gives you the chance to win", he had assured in an interview published on the official


website , in which he had also stood out, with his usual self-celebratory rhetoric, his work in

Saudi Arabia

and had been optimistic about his team's chances in this tournament.

Ramón Díaz had to suffer before being able to celebrate Al-Hilal's pass to the semifinals of the Club World Cup.

Photo: Andrew Boyers/Reuters.

In that talk, in which he also reflected on the performances of

Lionel Messi


Enzo Fernández

in the

World Cup in Qatar

and analyzed the performance of the Saudi team in that tournament, Díaz did not deprive himself of recalling the 2018 Libertadores final

. all the fans were amazing.

River showed all its potential.

He was far superior to Boca in every way, tactically, dynamically, he beat him very well and we will remember that forever,"

he shot.

The mischievous smiles and


that he had displayed in that chat were left behind a few hours later, when his team, which had contributed 14 players to the Saudi national team that beat


in the World Cup, had to work overtime to get among the four best of the tournament to which he had agreed for having won the Champions League of the Asian Football Confederation in 2021 (when the Portuguese Leonardo Jardim directed it).

Wydad fans displayed an impressive mosaic in one of the stands of the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat.

Photo: Andrew Boyers/Reuters.

Encouraged by a fervent crowd that covered the 86 kilometers that separate Casablanca from Rabat and packed the stands of the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium (with a capacity for 46,000 spectators), Wydad, winner of the Champions League of the African Football Confederation, did better duties for a good part of the duel, but that was not enough to reach the semifinals for the first time in his second participation in the Club World Cup (he finished sixth in 2017).

In the first half, the Moroccan team handled the ball better, especially when it passed through the feet of central midfielder Reda Jaadi, and generated the clearest approaches, although without putting goalkeeper and captain Abdullah Al-Mayouf in real trouble.

The riskiest were two midrange shots from Jaadi and Yahya Jabrane that flew just over the crossbar


After a furious start from the Saudis in the second half, Wydad struck after 6 minutes: after a corner from the right by Jalal Daoudi, defender Ayoub El Amloud, very free on the edge of the six-yard box, headed into the net and scored. shout out to the fans of

the most successful club in the history of the Moroccan league

(it won 22 titles).

At a disadvantage, the Asian cast lost the few lights it had shown until then.

With no answers from his starting lineup, Ramón reached out to some of the attacking men he had on the bench, including former Racing striker Luciano Vietto.

But Al-Hilal

had a hard time getting close to the rival area

and his attempts were limited to aimless balls.

Everything seemed under Wydad's control until, two minutes from time, Yahya Attiat-Allah touched the ball with one of his hands in the area and Salvadoran referee Iván Barton awarded a penalty.

As if that were not enough, Moroccan captain Yahya Jabrane received two yellow cards in the long sequence of protests and struggles that followed the sanction for the offense and

left his team with ten men


Mohamed Kanno, with cold blood, scored the 1 to 1 and sent the definition of the duel to extra time.

The advantage in the number of troops, which was presumed to be a key factor in extra time for those led by Ramón, was short-lived, since Kanno was sent off very quickly as a result of an infraction against Ayman El Hassouni that was analyzed by those responsible for the


and which did not seem to be the cause of such a severe penalty.

The resolution of the revised maneuver (and the argumentation)

could be heard through the loudspeakers of the stadium

, in a new practice that was implemented in this contest.

Against all odds, no one speculated or fell in love with the tie in extra time.

With their limitations on their backs and with bodies greatly decimated by the effort, the two teams directed the GPS towards the rival goal and had chances of victory: the Malian Moussa Marega wasted the best of Al-Hilal and the Senegalese Bouly Sambou did not specify the most clear of Wydad.

Thus, the passage to the semifinals was played on penalties.

In the battle of nerves from 11 meters,

Ramón's men were infallible

and, thanks to Yahya Attiat-Allah's shot that crashed against the two posts in a very striking carom, they were left with the ticket to face Flamengo.

Only then was


able to smile again, as he had done a few hours before when he remembered the final between River and Boca in Madrid.

look also

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-02-04

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