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Raja stuns Ronaldinho’s Atletico at Club World Cup

AP
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Face Bayern Munich in the final on Saturday

Raja Casablanca’s Mohsine Moutaoualiphoto: AP
Raja Casablanca’s Mohsine Moutaoualiphoto: AP

Raja Casablanca converted a late penalty kick to upset Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro 3-1 on Wednesday and set up an unexpected encounter with Bayern Munich in the Club World Cup final.

The Moroccan club will play the Champions League winner on Saturday after an improbable victory set off by captain Mohsine Moutaouali’s 84th-minute penalty, awarded when Atletico defender Rever was judged to have tripped Mouhssine Iajour inside the area.

Iajour had put the local favourite ahead in the 51st before more than 35,000 fans at the Marrakech Stadium before Ronaldinho equalised for the Brazilian team from an exquisite free kick in the 63rd.

But stunned Atletico coach Cuca could only look on in silence as substitute Vivien Mabide put the result beyond doubt with a stoppage time goal.

Now the Moroccans must pull off an even bigger upset over Bayern.

“Who would have believed we would come to this,” Raja coach Faouzi Benzarti said through a translator.

Despite Ronaldinho’s equaliser, the Brazilian playmaker was the one leaving the field red-eyed after the Copa Libertadores champion’s unexpected loss.

Ronaldinho was mobbed by jubilant Raja players who competed for his jersey, some even untying laces to remove his shoes as a souvenir of perhaps their most memorable night of football. The more than 10,000 Atletico fans left in a state of shock, many sobbing.

Atletico certainly did not look the expected class above Raja, which used its speed on the counter to upset Atletico’s backline of Leonardo Silva and Rever, who was exposed throughout but especially in the deciding spot kick.

Earlier, Monterrey of Mexico thrashed Al-Ahly of Egypt 5-1 for fifth-place.AP


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