It seems the Brazilian side was somewhat surprised by the level of competition they faced, but Flamengo mounted a comeback to earn a place in the Club World Cup final with a 3-1 win over Saudi side Al Hilal in Qatar.
Flamengo appeared caught off guard in the early going, conceding a number of good chances at the back. Former Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis missed an absolute sitter 15 minutes in, but his side would take the lead just a few minutes later as Sebastian Giovinco sprung Mohammed Al-Burayk down the right, and instead of taking the obvious cross to Gomis he cut back to Salem Al Dawsari who buried a deflected effort.
Flamengo looked stunned after falling behind early, but began to pour on the pressure. A spectacular challenge from Al-Buyayk was necessary to keep the Brazilians out on the half-hour mark, and while Al Hilal they made it to halftime with a deserving lead, they coughed it up moments after the restart. Bruno Henrique was sprung down the right edge of the penalty area and his cutback was on hand for Giorgian de Arrascaeta.
With the game level, Flamengo looked far more confident, and they finally drew level 12 minutes from full-time as Bruno Henrique delivered a bullet header from Rafinha’s cross. The cherry on top was an own goal by Ali Albulayhi who slid in to block a Bruno Henrique cross, and Peruvian forward Andre Carrillo was harshly sent off in the final five minutes for a tackle over the ball, leaving Al Hilal with 10 men.
In the early match of the day, host club Al Sadd was blasted by Tunisian side Esperance Sportive de Tunis 6-2 after falling a man down just 24 minutes in. Hassan Abdelkarim was the guilty party, using his arm to stop a shot on the goal line. With the hosts already down 2-0 at the time, the floodgates opened at the back.
Anice Badri completed his brace with the ensuing penalty that arose from the handball incident, and Hamdou Elhouni would secure a hat-trick before the day was done. The Qataris were impressively still a threat in front of net despite the man disadvantage, able to put six of their eight shots on target and score twice after the red card, but it ultimately wouldn’t be enough as Esperance claimed fifth place in the competition with the victory.