JEDDAH — Football enthusiasts in the Arab world are eagerly anticipating a thrilling Arab derby in the FIFA Club World Cup quarterfinals in Jeddah this Friday. The clash between Egypt's Al Ahly and Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad is set to be a highlight of the tournament, which concludes on December 22 in Saudi Arabia.
Both teams are determined to secure victory and advance to the semifinals, where they would face Brazil's Fluminense, the Copa Libertadores champions. Al Ahly, entering as the reigning champions of the African Champions League, earned their spot by defeating Morocco's Wydad Casablanca last season, securing their 11th title in history.
On the other hand, Al Ittihad represents Saudi Arabia as champions of the Saudi Professional League and reached this stage with a commanding 3-0 win over New Zealand's Auckland City in the opening round on Tuesday.
The two teams have a storied history, having met 18 years ago in a memorable encounter during the tournament's second edition in Japan. In that match, Mohammed Noor scored the only goal, propelling the Saudi team to the semifinals and eventually finishing fourth.
Since then, Al Ahly has participated in seven editions of the FIFA Club World Cup, securing three bronze medals in 2006, 2020, and 2021. Hosting the quarterfinal match, Al Ittihad aims for another victory against the Cairo giants and seeks to continue their impressive performance in the tournament, which they are hosting in Jeddah. The opening match victory over Auckland City witnessed a record attendance of over 50,000 fans at the King Abdullah Sport City Stadium, adding to the excitement of this prestigious global tournament.