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Palmeiras begin their quest for Club World Cup glory with a semi-final clash against Egyptian giants Al Ahly at the Al Nahyan Stadium on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Pitso Mosimane’s side made it this far after seeing off Mexico’s Monterrey in the first round, being rewarded with a tie against the Copa Libertadores champions as a result.

Starting as they mean to go on in 2022, Palmeiras have made an expected solid start to domestic proceedings in the New Year and travel to the Middle East having taken 10 points from their opening four fixtures in this year’s Campeonato Paulista A1.

Abel Ferreira’s men welcomed Agua Santa to the Allianz Parque on February 1 and ran out 1-0 winners as Dudu’s 26th-minute strike settled the contest, with Palmeiras seeking to avenge last season’s defeat to Sao Paulo in the final before Serie A takes centre stage once more.

Palmeiras may have fallen to Atletico Mineiro’s superiority in the Brasileiro last season, but by marching to their second successive Copa Libertadores title – seeing off Flamengo 2-1 in the final of the 2021 edition after extra time – a shot at intercontinental glory awaits.

Making just their second appearance at the Club World Cup, Palmeiras need no added incentive to get one over Al Ahly after being beaten to a podium finish by their opponents last term, and conceding just one goal from their opening four games of the season is certainly a positive sign.

Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane on February 5, 2022© Reuters

A six-game domestic winless streak did not exactly set up Al Ahly well before the first whistle blew at the Club World Cup, but Mosimane’s men managed to upset the odds slightly by booking their spot in the semis courtesy of a 1-0 success.

A winner from an unlikely source in right-back Mohamed Hany ended the Egyptian giants’ winless run as they bid to make the final of the Club World Cup for the very first time, and while they are hardly inexperienced at this tournament, a pair of bronze medals is all they have to show for their efforts thus far.

Seeing off the Copa Libertadores champions will be a tall order for the 42-time Egyptian title winners, who have not managed to score more than one goal in a game since November, but Palmeiras do not have fond memories of the two sides’ most recent meeting.

Indeed, Al Ahly prevailed 3-2 on penalties over Palmeiras to clinch third place at the Club World Cup last year – with a familiar name in Felipe Melo missing the decisive spot kick – but the Brazilian powerhouses will be in no mood to demonstrate such a lack of ruthlessness here.

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