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After qualifying to their sixth Club World Cup semi-final with a 3-1 win over hosts Al Ittihad Jeddah, Al Ahly are set to face Fluminense for an opportunity to reach the Club World Cup final for the first time in their history. But, what are their chances?

First off let’s start by saying that Fluminense are a really good side, in winger Keno they have arguably the best foreign player to ever set foot in the domestic league, and their coach – Fernando Diniz – is hailed by a lot of football fans for his entertaining, unorthodox football.

For example, Fluminense often adopt atypical approaches to build-up, with dual winger overloads meaning that both wingers occupy the same flank to help progress the ball. The players are often given more freedom than what you’d see normally with teams that adopt positional play tactics, hence why Diniz is often lauded by some as the founder of ‘Relationsim‘.

However, that being said Al Ahly do stand a chance against Fluminense, in fact they’d have to adopt sort of the same style they did against Al Ittihad.

For starters, Al Ahly adopted a midpress against Eti, that aimed to progress the ball as quick as possible in order to make use of their lethargic tracking back and leaky defending. Which is what led to two out of the three goals on Friday.

That, coupled with the pace of Percy Tau and Hussein El Shahat made matters incredibly difficult for the Jeddah giants, especially since most of the time the press proved to be very successful in midfield.

Now, coincidentally, the same could be said for Fluminense, who often lose the ball a lot in the second third of the pitch, and find themselves susceptible to counter-attacks. Flu had a positive goal difference of +4 in the Brazilian Serie A this season, letting in a whopping 47 goals in 38 games, which makes them the worst defensive record out of every team in the top half.

Examples of Fluminense losing the ball in the middle of the park:

Even in their Copa Liberatores journey, Fluminense only kept three clean sheets in a total of thirteen games. That being said, they reached the final having scored in every single game. For comparison reasons, their opponents in the final, Boca Juniors, had eight clean sheets in total, and failed to score in six.

So, whatever happens on Monday, Al Ahly – Fluminense has the potential to be a Club World Cup classic.

*TAP Group are a performance analysis company that specialises in player development and individual player analysis. They’ve worked with several top players in Egyptian football over the course of the past year, and have recently launched an initiative to analyse and develop players under the age of 12 with their very own league.