African champions Al Ahly shocked Brazilian giants Palmeiras to win the third-place play-off of the Club World Cup in a penalty shoot-out on Thursday.
After a goalless 90 minutes, the game went straight to penalties and Al Ahly captain Mohamed El-Shenawy saved the final spot-kick from former Juventus midfielder Felipe Melo to seal a 3-2 shoot-out victory.
“It would have been better to play in the final, but you can see how our performance showed even the doubters how we canplay,” said El-Shenawy.
It was a bitter defeat for South American champions Palmeiras, who won the Copa Libertadores at the end of January by beating Santos 1-0 in the final.
“Defeating the CONMEBOL champions is a milestone,” said Al Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane.
“We want to thank everybody… even the groundsman who cut the grass. It’s a collective effort.”
European champions Bayern Munich take on Mexico’s Tigres in the final at Al Rayyan, near Doha, later Thursday.
Egyptian side Al Ahly lost 2-0 to Bayern in Monday’s semi-final, thanks to two Robert Lewandowski goals, while Palmeiras lost their semi-final 1-0 to Tigres.
This is the second time that Al Ahly have finished third at the Club World Cup, having also done so in 2006. It also marks another milestone for Mosimane, who has had an amazing run of success since joining the Cairo giants last year.
Ahly won the Caf Champions League by beating bitter rivals Zamalek in the final, and the only game in all competitions that they have lost so far under the former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns head coach was to Bayern Munich in the Club World Cup semifinals on Monday.