Hosts Raja Casablanca will face favourites Bayern Munich in the FIFA Club World Cup Final on Saturday, and will be gunning for another upset.
The home side managed to sweep aside Atletico Mineiro in an encounter fraught with controversy. In the 84th minute, Mouhssine Iajour threw himself to the ground in mock agony. Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo was taken in by his fakery and awarded the penalty that saw the Moroccan side take a late 2-1 lead before Vivien Mabide made sure of the match in the last minute.
This victory then reignited the debate about whether Casablanca deserve their place in the competition, as they did not have to qualify.
However, they have fought their way through to the final, which must be commended. A game against Bayern Munich is the reward, and home fans will be excited to see their team face off against the German giants.
|Date||Time (GMT)||TV Coverage||Live Stream Info|
|Saturday, December 21||19:30||Fox Sports 2||FoxSoccer2Go/FIFA.com|
Since no one could have predicted that Casablanca would be in the final, it's likely that Bayern's preparation will have been for Atletico Mineiro. Nevertheless, they will have to contain Iajour if they are to hold off the challenge of the home side.
The striker has been the key player for the Moroccans, with two goals in the competition and the ability to cut through a defence with his pace. If the North African side are to get a result from this fixture, it's likely to be via Iajour and the counter attack.
Pep Guardiola has two Club World Cup titles with Barcelona, so will be keen to avoid the upset. He will be respectful of his opposition and field the strongest side he can.
The inclusion or exclusion of Javi Martinez should give a clue as to Bayern's intentions for the match. If the Spaniard is on the bench at kick-off, Guardiola is likely to opt for a more attacking side.
This should mean Phillip Lahm reverting back to defence and Thiago Alcantara operating deep behind a strong attack of Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze, Thomas Mueller and Mario Mandzukic.
It's going to be an entertaining game, with huge home support making it more akin to an international fixture. Raja coach Faouzi Benzarti also emphasised to BBC Sport that he has no intention of sitting back and defending:
We will fight in this final, show them that we are men, warriors. We are going to fight on all fronts to win this final.
We will need the best of us to win. We know the character of the German teams. We should not let them attack us all the time.
Nevertheless, the German side are obviously huge favourites, and should possess too much quality to allow this tournament to slip away from them.
Raja Casablanca 1-4 Bayern Munich