Michael Olunga’s Al Duhail SC will be banking on home support as they get ready to debut in the 2020 Fifa Club World Cup slated for February 4 to 11.

Hosts Al Duhail will meet African kings Al Ahly in the second round on February 4 at the 40,000-seater Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan with the winner booking a semi-final date against European champions Bayern Munich on February 7.

Al Duhail captain Almoez Ali, who emerged as the 2019 Asian Cup best player and top scorer, told the club’s website that they are looking forward to getting support from all the Qatari fans.

“In the last edition, Al Sadd found great support from all the Qatari fans. Now that we are participating, we call on all Qatari football fans to support us because we do not represent our team only, but all of Qatar.

Olunga Prepares for FIFA Club World Cup Debut
Olunga Prepares for FIFA Club World Cup Debut

With the presence and support of the 12th man, we will fight on the field to make a clear mark in this tournament,” said the Sudanese-born forward, who guided 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts to win the Asian Cup for the first time two years ago.

Egyptian giants Al Ahly along with South Korea’s Asian Champions League winners Ulsan Hyundai were the first teams to land in Qatar on Friday followed by North, Central America, and Caribbean champions Tigres UANL from Mexico on Saturday.

Seven-time Qatar champions Al Duhail warmed up for the annual event with a 6-0 thrashing of Al Ahli Doha in Amir Cup on January 25 with Olunga grabbing a hat-trick.

Olunga joined Al Duhail on January 12 from Kashiwa Reysol where he had guided the side to a seventh-place finish on its return to Japan’s top-tier league (J1 League) in 2020. He emerged as the top scorer with 28 goals and voted the Player of the Year.

Their road to the second round was shortened by a match after Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) flag-bearer Auckland City withdrew because of tough coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand.

Al-Ahly is not new to the Club World Cup. They have taken part in the 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2013 editions.

Olunga Prepares for FIFA Club World Cup Debut

Tigres and Ulsan will duel in another second-round match at the 40,000-seater Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. The winner of this contest will play South American champion Palmeraism who defeated Santos 1-0 in the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores final on January 30.

The 2020 FIFA Club World Cup was initially slated for December 2020 but was pushed to February 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Semi-finals are slated for February 7, while the third-place playoff and final will take place on February 11.

Hosts Qatar said 12, 000 fans will be allowed into the stadiums during the Club World Cup (30 percent of the capacity of the stadium).

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