Flamengo book place in Club World Cup final despite tough semi-final

Flamengo will be the opponents if Liverpool reach the final of the Club World Cup, after they fought to a 3-1 victory over Al-Hilal on Tuesday.

The Reds are hoping to book their place in the decider on Saturday evening when they take on Monterrey in the semi-finals, with Jurgen Klopp eyeing more silverware.

A day before, Flamengo took on Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal at the Khalifa International Stadium, and despite going in as favourites they endured an early shock.

That came as Salem Al-Dawsari put Al-Hilal 1-0 up in the 18th minute, with the first half proving a tough encounter for the Brazilian outfit, who perhaps underestimated their opponents.

But they came out flying after the break, with Giorgian De Arrascaeta equalising four minutes into the second half, before Bruno Henrique’s strike and an own goal from Ali Al-Bulaihi sealed the result.

To compound Al-Hilal’s misery, Andre Carillo was sent off with seven minutes left to play, and they will now look to the third-placed playoff earlier on Saturday.

They could still play Liverpool, of course, as there is no guarantee the Reds will overcome Monterrey, but the final has long been expected to be between the champions of Europe and South America.

DOHA, QATAR - Tuesday, December 17, 2019: CR Flamengo's Gabriel Barbosa during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Semi-Final match between CR Flamengo and Al Hilal FC at the Khalifa Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Flamengo have a host of familiar faces in their squad, including ex-Chelsea left-back Filipe Luis, former Bayern Munich man Rafinha, on-loan Inter Milan striker Gabriel Barbosa—otherwise known as Gabigol—and veteran midfielder Diego, who Klopp will be well aware of from his spells with Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg.

The final of the Club World Cup kicks off at 5.30pm (GMT) on Saturday, with the third-placed playoff three hours earlier.