European Champions Chelsea take on Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal on Wednesday in the on going FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. The Blues hit UAE with a solid squad despite missing their coach Thomas Tuchel.
Meanwhile following the big win over Al Jazira last night in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup, Al Hilal are now turning their attention to playing against European Champions Chelsea.
The Saudi Arabian club will meet the English Premier League giants on Wednesday 9 February at 8:30pm at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in a bid to become the first AFC representative to lift the trophy.
It will be a tough task and perhaps Al Hilal will find goals a lot harder to come by than they did against the UAE Pro League champions.
The Blues are playing in the tournament for the second time in their history, having finished as runners-up in 2012. They are taking this tournament very seriously too and arrived in the UAE with a star-studded squad that includes Germany’s Kai Havertz, Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, Brazil legend Thiago Silva, USA star Christian Pulisic and England internationals such as Reece James and Mason Mount.
Al Hilal manager Leonardo Jardim is under no illusions of the task at hand. He said, “Chelsea need no introduction. They won the Champions League in Europe, we won the Champions League in Asia. Chelsea are the favourite but we know that football sometimes is full of surprises and we’ll do our very best with the ambition of going on to the final.”
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 which stopped him from attending Saturday’s FA Cup match against Plymouth and prevented him from flying to the UAE with the team but he could join up with them next week.
“I’m sure Chelsea will be a very different match,” added Jardim. “It will be a match where we will have to have some additional care from a defensive standpoint but we will be attacking. We’re a big club and we’re used to being offensive against our opponents and that’s what we’ll continue doing.”
He called on the club’s supporters to find their voice and be the difference against Chelsea. ““Football is made for fans and it’s beautiful because of the fans. I think it’s important for any manager, any player to see the support of their fans at any match.”