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Urawa beat Wydad 3-2 to salvage pride.

Summary: Moroccan side put up a brave fight against ACL winners

By N. D. PrashantStaff Reporter

Al Ain

A brace by Brazilian Mauricio saw Asian Champions League winners Urawa Red Diamonds salvage some pride by beating Morocco's Wydad Casablanca 3-2 in the fifth-place match at the Fifa Club World Cup at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium yesterday.

Yosuke Kashuwagi scored Urawa's second goal in between the Mauricio strikes, while Esmail Al Haddad and Rada Hajhouj scored for Wydad.

The Japanese side were knocked out of the title race after they lost their opening fixture 1-0 to hosts Al Jazira, but yesterday they were on the money right from the start.

They took the lead in the 18th minute through a peach of a goal from Mauricio. The defender, who had pushed himself up, had all the time in the world to hammer a 35-yard right-footer on the top corner after being set up by Takuya Aoki.

The lead, however, did not last long and two minutes later Wydad Casablanca drew level from a set piece. Al Haddad shot through the centre of the area and the ball found the top left corner of the net.

Lead restored

In the 26th minute, Urawa restored their lead with Yosuke Kashiwagi sliding home a measured cross from Rafael Silva.

A pumped up Urawa could have widened the lead had striker Shinzo Koroki been clinical in his finish. Koroki had an open goal in front of him but he ended up shooting wide.

Before going into the break Urawa goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa came up with a brilliant save to see his side keep the one-goal edge.

It was a power-packed header from Walid Al Karti after a cross from the left flank by Al Haddad, but Nishikawa stuck out his foot in time to thwart that effort.

Change of ends

After the change of ends, Urawa doubled their lead once again through Mauricio, who capitalised on a weak clearance from Mohammad Aoulad Youssef following a set-piece, and shot home from inside the area to make it 3-1.

In the 67th minute, a Yuki Muto left-footed shot from 35 yards just missed the goal by inches. Wydad also had their share of chances, but their forwards were found wanting once inside the box.

Wydad's forward Reda Hajhouj tested Urawa goalkeeper Nishikawa with a right-footed shot from the right side of the six-yard box but the latter was equally up for the challenge with a fine block.

Wydad's Al Haddad would time and again make some defence-splitting runs but failed to convert once inside the box.

With Urawa not ready to lift their foot off the pedal, Wydad had very little chance to recover but a penalty in injury time by Rada Hajhouj allowed Wydad to reduce the margin to 3-2 before the final whistle.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:6MORO
Date:Dec 12, 2017
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