Seattle Sounders 0-1 Al Ahly: Heartbreak for MLS franchise as Egyptian opponents score winner in the 88th minute to progress to face giants Real Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup semifinals
The Seattle Sounders’ hopes of playing giants Real Madrid at the FIFA Club World Cup were ended in the cruelest fashion Saturday.
The MLS team seemed headed for extra-time with the second round match with Al Ahly locked at 0-0 with just minutes remaining.
But Mohamed Afsha’s 88th-minute strike deflected off a defender and found its way into the net to inflict heartbreak on the Sounders.
Seattle Sounders’ Dany Leyva and Alexander Roldan look dejected after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat
Al Ahly’s Mohamed Afsha celebrates scoring the winner in the 88th minute of the game
The Sounders were knocked out of the FIFA Club World Cup in the cruelest fashion in Morocco
Al Ahly celebrating reaching the semifinals of the competition, courtesy of a late winner
Afsha’s last-gasp rebound, after he had initially struck the woodwork, took a wicked deflection to win the game for the Egyptian club and set up a dream matchup for them against the European champions.
Afsha hit a speculative effort from distance that looped over Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei and dipped onto the crossbar.
The ball bounced right back into his path and allowed him a volley that Alex Roldan steered past his own goalkeeper as he stuck his foot out to block the shot.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was dejected in his postgame interview, keeping it brief.
He said: ‘I thought we were good. I thought we were evenly matched.’
Al Ahly, competing at an eighth tournament, now meet Real Madrid in Rabat on Wednesday, which follows Tuesday’s other semifinal between Flamengo of Brazil and Al Hilal of Saud Arabia.
Asian champions Al Hilal won earlier on Saturday against home team Wydad Casablanca on post-match penalties after a 1-1 draw.
It was a heart-breaking finish for Seattle, the first Major League Soccer team to compete at the Club World Cup, and still in its preseason before the league campaign kicks off later this month.
The game had few chances although the Egyptians, who were semifinalists at the last Club World Cup in 2021, enjoyed much possession.
Al Ahly’s Taher Mohamed shoots at goal in FIFA Club World Cup tie against Seattle Sounders
Sounders’ supporters made the long trip to Morocco to cheer on their team on Saturday
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer gestures on the sideline during the tight encounter
Al Ahly’s Ali Maaloul battles for the ball with Seattle Sounders’ Cristian Roldan in huge clash
Fans of Al Ahly wave flags as their team came out on top to face Real Madrid on Wednesday