In a commanding performance, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema successfully scored for Al-Ittihad, ensuring a convincing win against Auckland City in the opening round of the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup. The King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Jeddah hosted the match.
Saudi Arabia is hosting the 20th edition of the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time this year. The country has heavily invested in football and managed to attract renowned players like Benzema, Kante, and Cristiano Ronaldo to join its league.
Romarinho scored a goal in the 29th minute, giving Al-Ittihad the lead. Kante, who recently transferred from Chelsea, increased their advantage with an impressive goal. The powerful strike from the French defensive midfielder inside the Auckland box delighted the home supporters as it found the top of the net.
Benzema, who recently left Real Madrid to join Al-Ittihad, achieved a historic feat by becoming the inaugural player to score in four FIFA Club World Cups. In the 40th minute, he showcased his signature finishing abilities by converting Muhannad Al-Shanqeeti’s first-touch pass.
Although Al-Ittihad had 28 attempts on goal compared to Auckland’s three, they couldn’t increase their advantage but managed to secure a comfortable win. On Friday, they will face Al Ahly SC in the second round, where a place in the semi-finals will be up for grabs.
In the meantime, Manchester City will kick off their pursuit of the championship in the semi-finals, going against either Club Leon or Urawa Reds on December 19. The long-awaited final will occur on December 22.