Nigeria striker, Odion Ighalo, is set to return to action and the starting line-up for Al Hilal when they take on Moroccan giants Wydad Athletic Club in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Friday.
The former Manchester United striker who recently returned from a hamstring injury suffered in Al Hilal’s 1-0 win over Al Ittihad on January 5 has missed the club’s last four games. He returned to full team training with the Al-Za’eem and is in line for a starting berth as they hope to reach the semi-final of the competition.
Al Hilal qualified for the Club World Cup as 2022 Asian champions while hosts Wydad qualified as champions of the 2022 CAF Champions League. The Africans are expected to have not just the home advantage but a bulk of the players involved in helping Morocco reach a history semi-final berth at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ply their trade with the African giants.
Before his injury, Ighalo had been in superb form for Al Hilal scoring eight league goals in 12 games to help the side who currently sit third in the league after 15 games, two points off Al Shabaab who have played one more game and a point against Al Nassr who has played 14 games.
The winner of the match between the Asian and African champions will qualify to the semi-final where they’ll face Brazilian giants Flamengo, winners of the 2022 Copa Libertadore.
Africa’s most successful club Al Ahly who only qualified for the competition after Morocco were awarded the hosting rights on Wednesday thrashed New Zealand’s Auckland City in the first round of the competition.
The Egyptian giants will face American Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders who are the current holders of the CONCACAF Champions League. The winner of the tie will advance to the semi-final where they’ll play 2022 UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid.