African champions Al Ahly set up a Club World Cup semi-final clash against German giants Bayern Munich after beating Al Duhail 1-0 in a nervy affair in Doha.
Hussein El Shahat opened the scoring for the Egyptians after thirty minutes as they controlled the first half, but the local Qatari champions fought back valiantly after the break.
The match was played at thirty per cent capacity at the Education City Stadium and despite Al Duhail playing in their home country, one would have been forgiven for thinking the game was in Cairo such was the crowd’s support for the Egyptians.
The solitary goal came after Congolese striker Walter Bwalya pounced on a mistake by Al Duhail’s Bassam Hisham on the edge of the box, teeing up El Shahat to whip home a right-footed shot and send the stadium into rapture.
Eight minutes later, Bwalya thought he had increased the Red Devils’ lead but his coolly-taken finish was ruled out by VAR because of a marginal offside decision.
Al Duhail, who count Morocco’s former Juventus star Medhi Benatia in their ranks, are coached by former Nottingham Forest and Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi whose side showed much more initiative after the break.
They almost equalised through Mohammed Muntari whose shot was nervously spilled over the bar by Al Ahly keeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
Al Ahly will go into Monday’s match against European champions Bayern Munich full of confidence, with the nine-times African champions now unbeaten in 32 games.
The Cairo club is appearing at the Club World Cup for a sixth time and hoping to improve on their previous best showing – when finishing third in 2006.
They can also expect further lively support given the number of expatriate Egyptians, who turned out in their droves to welcome the team at the airport, in Qatar.
Earlier on, Mexican champions Tigres beat South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai who took the lead through defender Kim Kee-hee after 24 minutes.
However, two goals from veteran French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, including a penalty conceded by Kee-hee, handed victory to the Mexicans who will next face Brazil’s Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras of Brazil on Sunday.
The Club World Cup final, which only two African sides have ever contested – DR Congo’s TP Mazembe in 2010 and Moroccans Raja Casablanca in 2013, takes place on 11 February.