Fluminense lean on veterans Marcelo, Felipe Melo to reach Club World Cup final
EPL

Fluminense lean on veterans Marcelo, Felipe Melo to reach Club World Cup final

Dec 19, 2023

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The wily guile of defender Marcelo won the penalty that helped send Fluminense’s veteran team to the Club World Cup final after beating Al Ahly 2-0 on Monday.

Marcelo’s fine footwork at the edge of the Al Ahly penalty area teased forward Percy Tau into the tackle that sent Jhon Arias to the spot to convert a 71st-minute penalty.

Fluminense sealed victory in the 90th, when substitute John Kennedy scored with a curling left-foot shot.

Fluminense will play Manchester City or Urawa Red Diamonds for the title on Friday.

While Marcelo helped create for the champion of South America at one end, the 40-year-old defender Felipe Melo and 43-year-old goalkeeper Fabio protected at the other.

Felipe Melo produced a standout moment of the first half, racing back toward goal to tackle Tau, who was poised to shoot. Felipe Melo rose to his feet and shouted in satisfaction.

Fabio’s calm and precise positional sense let him save repeatedly from Al Ahly’s 18 goal attempts.

Fluminense and Al Ahly presented a throwback look at a competition dominated for two decades by the wealthiest European clubs who have hired waves of global talent.

A team of 11 South Americans including nine Brazilians started against 11 Africans including nine Egyptians.

Veteran Brazil internationals Marcelo and Felipe Melo are being rewarded again for coming home from long careers in Europe to enjoy late-career blooms with the Copa Libertadores winner.

Though Fluminense was outshot 11 to three in the half, both efforts by its Colombian winger Arias struck the left-hand post of goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

Arias finally scored his penalty after running at a curious angle parallel to the goal before he stopped, paused then placed a right-foot shot beyond El Shenawy diving to his right.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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