In a crucial game, Saudi attacker Salem Al-Dawsari scored once more.
Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Brazilian club Flamengo by Al-Hilal in the Club World Cup semifinal was made possible by two penalties converted by Al-Dawsari, who also provided the winning goal in Saudi Arabia’s 2-1 World Cup victory over Argentina.
In the final on Saturday, the Saudi Arabian champion will either face Real Madrid or Al Ahly of Egypt.
After Luciano Vietto was fouled in the fourth minute, Al-Hilal scored the game’s first goal from the penalty spot with Al-Dawsari.
Flamengo quickly ramped up the tempo, though, and Pedro, who was also playing for Brazil in the World Cup, equalized in the 20th minute with a crossed shot that deftly slipped past the goalkeeper.
The Copa Libertadores winner persisted in exerting pressure, but in first-half stoppage time, a video-assisted decision fundamentally altered the game.
Vietto collapsed in the penalty area once more, and the officials eventually determined that Gerson’s touch knocked him over. After receiving a second caution, the Brazilian was dismissed, and Al-Dawsari calmly added a second for the Saudis.
Giorgián de Arrascaeta, the team’s standout midfielder, was replaced by more defensively positioned player Erick Pulgar by Flamengo coach Vitor Pereira, who assumed the post in January. His plan did not succeed, as the Saudis made a tremendous second-half comeback.
Vietto added a third with a close-range effort in the 74th minute to make it 3-1 just moments after hitting Flamengo’s crossbar.
Pedro’s second-period goal for Flamengo was the only shot on goal for the Brazilians.
After a 1-1 draw and a penalty shootout, Al-Hilal defeated home favorites Wydad Casablanca 5-3 to go to the semifinal.