There was nothing to celebrate for the ex-Watford ace as the Asian champions failed to bring their A-game to the highly anticipated contested against the African kings
Nigerian international Odion Ighalo was an unused substitute as Al Hilal suffered a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Al Ahly in their Club World Cup third-place playoff inside the magnificent Al Nahyan Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
A potentially explosive clash was expected between the two Arab lords, with one the reigning champions of the CAF Champions League and the other the AFC Champions League.
But Al Hilal shot themselves in the foot with some curious decisions and two moments of madness, allowing Al Ahly to stroll to a commanding win.
Manager Leonardo Jardim chose to bench impressive new signing Ighalo, starting Malian forward Moussa Marega instead.
Ighalo had scored on his club debut in the 6-1 demolition of Al Jazira in Al Hilal’s first game at the Club World Cup. The former Manchester United loanee after that received praise from FIFA for his excellent showing against Chelsea, despite his side’s narrow 1-0 defeat to the Blues.
Which Arab giant takes third place? 🥉— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) February 12, 2022
Still, the Arabian giants were the favourites to edge the tie. But they found themselves trailing 3-0 by halftime, with their cause not helped by the dismissal of Brazilian midfielder Matheus Perreira (for a dangerous foul) and Saudi Arabian star Mohammed Kanoo (for violent conduct).
Al Ahly pressed home their advantage, with the Egyptians adding a fourth after the interval through Amro El Soulia to romp to their third bronze medal at the FIFA CWC.
After their second loss of the week, Ighalo and his Asia Galácticos will turn attention back to defending their Saudi Pro League title. Fourth-placed Al Hilal are scheduled to battle Ighalo’s previous employers Al Shabab, who occupy the second spot, next weekend.
Al Hilal trail their city-rivals by nine points, but the Blue Waves have played three fewer games due to the commitments at the Club World Cup.