As It Happened: Chelsea advance to FIFA Club World Cup final after win against Al Hilal

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 09: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea (2L) celebrates with teammates Kai Havertz, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso and Mateo Kovacic of Chelsea after scoring their team's first goal during the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 Semi Final match between Al Hilal and Chelsea FC at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on February 09, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)


19:473 months ago

Thanks for following!

That’s all for this live blog covering the FIFA Club World Cup semi final between Al Hilal and Chelsea, in which the English side marched onto the final of the competition after a 1-0 win.

Thanks for joining me today, I’ve been Noah Robson and I look forward to seeing you again soon here on VAVEL!

19:443 months ago

Watch the winning goal below

19:413 months ago

Chelsea: What It Means

Meanwhile, while this was the result most people had anticipated prior to kick-off, Chelsea will be pleased with the fact they did what they set out to do and have made it to the final on Saturday evening.

While they didn’t show the most clinical finishing throughout throughout the 90 minutes, they did create a number of chances which will please Thomas Tuchel who was forced to watch from the UK as he continues to isolate.

In the end, they’ll be relishing the idea of now just being one game away from lifting the only trophy they have yet to put in their cabinet - although they’ll know they have a tough task ahead with Palmeiras their opponents in the final.

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19:383 months ago

Al Hilal: What It Means

For Al Hilal, while they won’t be able to get their hands on the Club World Cup trophy, they can’t be too disappointed given the fact they were huge underdogs heading into this game anyway, and as such weren’t expecting too much.

The gulf in class between the two teams eventually did just show, although their determination to get back into the game in the second half was admirable and very nearly paid dividends had their finishing been better.

At the very least, they do still have the third place play-off to look forward to, in which they have the chance to bring home a medal back to Saudi Arabia, when they go up against African side Al Ahly.

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19:353 months ago

All the best photos

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19:323 months ago

The key stats from the game

Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Shots: 12-15

On Target: 3-5

Possession: 46%-54%

Corners: 3-9

Fouls: 7-14

Yellow Cards: 2-1

19:293 months ago

Some big saves from this man

19:263 months ago

Match Summary

Chelsea advanced to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup after a win against Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi following goals from Romelu Lukaku,

Chelsea were by far the dominant side in the first half, as they piled on the pressure in the search of an opening goal, which took a little while to come after Romelu Lukaku wasted a couple of great opportunities.

However, as all great strikers should, the Belgian kept pushing and eventually put his side ahead from close range following a defensive mix-up from the Saudi Arabian side, meaning the Blues went in one goal ahead at the break.

The second half was a less convincing performance from the English side and for much of it Al Hilal looked the more threatening, but they held on for a 1-0 win which sees them through to Saturday’s final.

19:233 months ago

Player of the Match: Kepa Arrizabalaga

Nobody in particular excelled for Chelsea with it being a fairly mediocre performance from the English side, but if I had to pick a player of the match it would probably be Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The goalkeeper made a couple of excellent saves in the second half to keep his side ahead, and so in the absence of any other particularly eye-catching performances, the Spaniard is the one I would pick out.

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19:203 months ago

FULL TIME: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

And with that the referee brings to an end this semi final matchup in which Chelsea progressed to the final thanks to a goal from Romelu Lukaku.

It was a first half dominated by the Blues who piled on the pressure, but their exploits only brought them a single goal, which came from the much-talked about Lukaku as he smashed the ball home from close range.

During the second 45 minutes if anything it was Al Hilal who looked to be the more dangerous team, but they couldn’t find a way past Kepa and so it was the Blues who ended up 1-0 winners.

19:203 months ago

90+3: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Into the final knockings here and unless there's some last gasp drama it looks as though we know what our FIFA Club World Cup final will look like...
19:183 months ago

90+1: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Azpilicueta puts in a great low cross which is just about pushed away by the goalkeeper.
19:173 months ago

90+1: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

There's going to be three minutes of additional time at the end of this game.
19:153 months ago

89: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Mount's cutback doesn't reach Lukaku, instead going out for a corner but as most set pieces have been today for Chelsea, it comes to nothing.
19:143 months ago

87: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Another change for Chelsea as Malang Sarr enters the field of play for Marcos Alonso, presumably in a like-for-like change at left wing-back.
19:123 months ago

85: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

It's getting a little feisty on the pitch as players become frustrated in the final few minutes, with Mason Mount involved in a mini bust-up most recently.

Chelsea still have the lead, but only just.

19:093 months ago

82: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

A couple of substitutions for Al Hilal as Matheus Pereira leaves the pitch in place of Michael and Al Dawsari departs in place of Andre Carrillo.
19:073 months ago

80: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Kovacic plays Lukaku in over the top who passes to Mount in the box but his shot is blocked behind for a corner.
19:043 months ago

77: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

The game is opening up more as we near the final 10 minutes of this contest, and with just a one goal lead Chelsea are by no means in a secure position.
19:003 months ago

73: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Matheus Pereira's corner is headed on by Jane and again it's not too far wide of the target.

Al Hilal are really knocking on the door here.

18:593 months ago

72: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Mason Mount has come on for Chelsea, replacing Hakim Ziyech in an attempt to revitalise the Blues' attack a little.
18:573 months ago

70: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Pereira now has a go from range and his shot skims the side netting but it's another close effort from Al Hilal.
18:553 months ago

68: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Al Hilal race forward on the counter attack after that corner and Ighalo first has an effort blocked before Kanno unleashes a strike from the edge of the box which requires a brilliant save from Kepa.

Chelsea are just getting a little bit more open at the back here.

18:543 months ago

68: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Havertz gets his head on a Ziyech corner but his shot goes straight at the keeper who catches with ease.
18:543 months ago

66: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

That's a really poor challenge from Cuellar as he deliberately brings Kai Havertz down on the halfway line and he gets a yellow card.
18:523 months ago

65: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

The Saudi Arabian side win a free kick after Havertz fouls Pereira, and it's the Brazilian who takes it but it's blocked by the wall.

More promising from Al Hilal though.

18:513 months ago

64: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Marega is played through in on goal and it's a big save from Kepa to deny him.

The resulting corner doesn't trouble the Chelsea keeper but he's kept his side ahead there and that should serve as a wake-up call for the Blues.

18:493 months ago

62: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

It's been a little sloppy for Chelsea in this second half, particularly going forwards.

Al Hilal will feel they've always got a chance when it's only a one goal difference.

18:483 months ago

60: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

A great move from Chelsea ends in Lukaku heading down to Ziyech on the edge of the box who strikes the ball fairly well but the keeper saves.
18:453 months ago

58: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Al Hilal go forward with pace and Ighalo has a go but his shot his blocked and the Saudi Arabian side give away a foul.
18:443 months ago

57: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Ziyech tries to control a ball over the top from Rudiger but fails to do so and it goes behind for a goal kick.
18:423 months ago

55: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Ziyech puts the ball in from a corner and it's headed on in the direction of Havertz at the back post but he can't make contact.

Plenty of pushing and shoving going on in the box during that set piece too, but nothing doing for the referee.

18:383 months ago

52: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Kanno shoots from range and the ball has a decent amount of pace on it, but not enough accuracy as it goes over the bar.
18:383 months ago

51: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

It's been a better start to the second half from Al Hilal, purely in terms of the fact they haven't been completely under the quash since we got going again.
18:353 months ago

49: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Havertz races forwards and tries to chip the goalkeeper from an extremely tight angle, but the ball bounces off the post to the German's dismay.
18:333 months ago

47: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea have made a change too, with Jorginho going off for N'Golo Kante.

Not a bad option to come off the bench, is it?

18:323 months ago

46: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

We're back underway in Abu Dhabi and it's Al Hilal who get us going for the second 45 minutes, with the Saudi Arabian side kicking from right to left in this half.
18:273 months ago

The half time statistics

Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Shots: 4-10

On Target: 1-3

Possession: 38%-62%

Corners: 0-5

Fouls: 3-7

Yellow Cards: 0-0

18:223 months ago

Some snaps from the first half

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18:173 months ago

HALF TIME: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

And so we reach the half time break in this Club World Cup semi final, and it's the Blues who are ahead as both teams return to their dressing rooms.

Romelu Lukaku got the important goal, though he certainly took his time, skewing a few efforts prior to that finish.

Nevertheless, the Belgian's goal is the difference and with Chelsea's defence virtually not at all threatened, it seems they are halfway to the final.

18:163 months ago

45+1: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Al Hilal win a free kick just inside their attacking third which results in Al Dawsari having a crack from long range and Kepa has to make his first save, though it's an easy one.
18:143 months ago

45: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Some neat build up play from Chelsea ends in Ziyech having an effort from the edge of the box but it's saved with ease.
18:133 months ago

44: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Marcos Alonso floats in a cross towards Lukaku who tries to head down towards Ziyech but the ball is cleared out for a corner.

That set piece is put in by Ziyech and it falls to Alonso whose effort is blazed over the bar.

18:123 months ago

41: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea really should have a second as Lukaku lays the ball off to Hakim Ziyech in the box but the Moroccan can't score even with two bites of the cherry as his initial shot rebounded straight back to him.
18:093 months ago

39: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Ziyech swings in a corner but nobody can get their head on it from Chelsea, and Al Hilal try to break but they are prevented from doing so by Jorginho.
18:063 months ago

36: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Al Dawsari cuts inside and tries to bend in a shot from the left hand side of the edge of the box but it flies wide of the target.
18:053 months ago

35: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

Chelsea have just relaxed a little on the incessant pressure they had been putting on, but they look very much in control still.
18:023 months ago

GOAL!: Al Hilal 0-1 Chelsea

The Blues are finally in front and it's Romelu Lukaku!

Havertz puts a ball into the box which Al Shahrani heads straight down into the path of Lukaku and he has the easiest of tasks to smash home from close range.

Al Hilal can't say it hasn't been coming, and they now have it all to do.

18:013 months ago

30: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Half an hour gone here and it's the same pattern still - Chelsea look far more likely to score, but actually doing so appears to be another matter for the English side.
17:593 months ago

29: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

A stat has just popped up telling me that Chelsea have had 61% of possession so far.

I've got to say, it feels like a lot more than that.

17:583 months ago

28: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Thiago Silva gives away a foul on Marega at the halfway line to prevent Al Hilal from going on a potentially dangerous counter attack.
17:563 months ago

26: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Lukaku has yet another opportunity one on one with the keeper but he fires the ball straight at the man in between the sticks.
17:553 months ago

25: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Al Hilal get forward themselves but it's not a particularly threatening attack as the ball floated in is cleared by Thiago Silva of the Chelsea defence.
17:533 months ago

23: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

If Chelsea can keep this pressure up it feels like a matter of time before they break the deadlock here.

That said, if Lukaku's current finishing continues that may take some time!

17:513 months ago

20: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Havertz works it well on the left before crossing into Azpiliceuta who heads down to Lukaku yet again but the striker can't get to the ball which is a little behind him.

Lots of pressure being put on by Chelsea now.

17:483 months ago

17: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Lukaku has another chance as Azpilicueta fires in a cross but he can't sort his feet out and the ball goes past him.
17:463 months ago

15: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Ziyech this time picks up the ball and plays Lukaku in well, but the Belgian can't find the back of the net, instead seeing his shot saved.

He's flagged offside afterwards, but he really ought to have done better there, given his finishing prowess.

17:443 months ago

13: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

The Blues (in yellow) get a corner after Marcos Alonso's shot is blocked behind, but it comes to nothing as the ball is fairly easily cleared away.
17:423 months ago

11: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Hakim Ziyech gets the ball on the edge of the box and tries his luck with his shot going over the crossbar.

It’s the closest the Blues have come so far though.

17:403 months ago

9: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Thiago Silva tries his luck from distance but the Brazilian’s shot doesn’t come close to troubling the keeper.

Chelsea will need to do better than that if they want to score tonight.

17:393 months ago

8: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Kovacic is this time called offside after a long ball is punted over the Al Hilal defence.
17:363 months ago

5: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

There’s a decent atmosphere at the stadium, particularly from the Al Hilal fans which is good to see.

They’ll be hoping for a big upset tonight, but it’s certainly possible.

17:333 months ago

3: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Romelu Lukaku tries to play Kai Havertz through but the German is offside.
17:323 months ago

2: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

Al Hilal have the first chance of the game as Ighalo fires wide from long range, but that’s encouraging from the Saudi Arabian side.
17:303 months ago

KICK-OFF: Al Hilal 0-0 Chelsea

The referee blows his whistle to signal the game to start and the game is underway here in Abu Dhabi!
17:263 months ago

Not long to go now

There’s just under 5 minutes until this game gets underway and there’s now a steady stream of fans making their way into the stadium.

Stay right here for all the latest updates when the game begins!

17:193 months ago

The tournament so far

Before this game gets underway, let’s take a brief look back at this tournament so far, and what has happened in Abu Dhabi.

In the opening game, Al Jazrira beat Pirae 4-1, sending the United Arab Emirates-based side into the second round.

There they faced Al Hilal, the current AFC Champions League holders, where they lost convincingly, by six goals to one.

The day before, in the other second round match, Al Ahly defeated Monterrey, sending them through to the semi final stage.

And finally, in yesterday’s game between Palmeiras and Al Ahly, the Brazilian side came out on top, meaning they will compete in Saturday’s final.

17:123 months ago

Automatic VAR on trial

In one of the stranger aspects of today’s game, it will be one of the first ever matches to incorporate a semi-automated video assistant referee into decision-making.

The technology works by tracking players via multiple cameras, before coming to a conclusion over whether they are offside in under half a second.

As mentioned, it’s still in a trial stage, but if successful, it may be used at the FIFA World Cup later this year - though it remains to be seen how useful it really is.

17:053 months ago

Chelsea Fans’ Views

Meanwhile, here’s the opinions of Blues’ fans…
16:583 months ago

Reactions from Al Hilal fans

Here’s what some of Al Hilal’s supporters make of their starting eleven…
16:513 months ago

Mateo Kovacic starts for Chelsea

In terms of the Chelsea team news, while there is always a degree of rotation in Thomas Tuchel’s mind, there’s one man who remains a near-on constant, regardless of the game.

That player is Mateo Kovacic, with the Croatian starting in midfield once again as he looks to play his part this evening in Abu Dhabi, both going forwards and in defence.

The 27-year-old has become a firm fans’ favourite in West London, and since adding more attacking output to his game this season too - including a Premier League Goal of the Month against Liverpool - he has only become more loved.

16:443 months ago

Moussa Marega in for Al Hilal

There’s not a huge amount of surprises for Al Hilal after their win in the second round of this competition on Sunday evening in Abu Dhabi.

The main player to pick out from their side is that of top goal contributor, Moussa Marega, who will hope to add to his already impressive tally this season against Chelsea.

He’s hit the back of the net on six occasions so far during this campaign, as well as providing two assists, including one goal in that aforementioned previous match against Al Jazira.

16:373 months ago

Chelsea Starting XI

... and here's what the English side look like.
16:313 months ago

Al Hilal Starting XI

Here’s how Leonardo Jardim’s side line up…
16:233 months ago

The venue for today

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16:153 months ago


Good afternoon and welcome to the VAVEL live coverage of this FIFA Club World Cup game between Al Hilal and Chelsea!

We’ll have team news for you very shortly, so stay right here for all the latest updates in the build up to kick off!

18:563 months ago

Tune in here for Al Hilal vs Chelsea

That brings to an end for now this pre-live coverage, ahead of kick off tomorrow evening in Abu Dhabi in the semi finals of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Do not miss a detail of the match Al Hilal vs Chelsea live updates and commentaries of VAVEL.

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18:513 months ago

What time does the game kick-off across the world?

India: 10:00 PM

South Africa: 6:30 PM

Australia (Sydney): 3:30 AM

Japan: 1:30 AM

USA (New York): 11:30 PM



18:463 months ago

What time does the game kick-off?

This game is set to be shown live on E4 for viewers who are in the UK, with coverage of the match beginning from 4:00 PM GMT.

Kick-off itself is scheduled for 4:30 PM GMT, though in reality that’s firmly in the evening when taking into account the time difference in the UAE.

18:413 months ago

Al Hilal vs Chelsea Prediction

In all honesty, this does feel as though it will likely be a relatively one-sided match, given the rather large difference in quality between the two teams competing here.

However, it’s important to remember the potential for upsets, no matter the seemingly insurmountable gulf in class that many will rightly point to prior to this match getting underway.

Still, I do fully expect Chelsea to get the win in this one, though perhaps not quite as convincingly as some may believe, meaning I’m going to go with a 2-0 win for Tuchel’s side.

18:363 months ago

Latest games between Al Hilal and Chelsea

As a result of the fact that these two teams play on entirely different continents, they have never played a match against one another at any point in their respective history’s.

It’s often the case in the FIFA Club World Cup that this happens, and it makes for some intriguing battles as both sides look to try and figure their fellow competitor out.

Therefore, while there might not be any previous meetings to look to in terms of form, if anything that makes it all the more exciting for one of these teams to beat an opponent for the very first time.

18:313 months ago

Key Player from Chelsea - Mateo Kovacic

Over the past few months, while it’s been a relatively positive time in West London there have been a few questions surrounding the best possible team that Thomas Tuchel can put out when naming his side.

One player who has been performing fairly consistently throughout though is Mateo Kovacic, with the Croatian international a stalwart in midfield, helping to cut out opposition attacks.

On top of that, he has picked up five assists too this season, so will be hoping to help his team win the final piece of silverware that, up until now, has eluded the trophy cabinet at Stamford Bridge.

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18:263 months ago

Key Player from Al Hilal - Moussa Marega

In terms of the player to look out for in this game from the Saudi Arabian side, Al Hilal, it may well have been Bafetimbi Gomis had he not departed to Galatasaray last month.

As it is, the striker is no longer at the club so instead it’s going to be the second top scorer, Moussa Marega, who has scored six times and assisted twice during this season so far.

He also scored in his side’s previous game, so as a striker will want to continue in that form and add to his tally at this competition, even with the intimidating task of going up against the European Champions’ defence ahead of him.

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18:213 months ago

Probable line-ups of Chelsea

Team News of Chelsea
  • Reece James is back in the squad, thought it’s unclear whether he’ll be fit enough to feature
  • One player who won’t be around is left back Ben Chilwell who has been ruled out until the end of the season with an ACL injury
  • Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is back from AFCON but it’s uncertain whether he’ll start between the sticks again

Predicted XI

Kepa; Chalobah, Silva, Rudiger; Azpilicueta, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Lukaku, Werner

18:163 months ago

Probable line-ups of Al Hilal

Team News of Al Hilal
  • The Saudi Arabian side don’t have any major injury concerns heading into this one
  • Al Hilal took advantage of their five allowed substitutes too, meaning their players shouldn’t be too fatigued either
  • Given the dominance they showed last time out, it seems likely that it will be an unchanged side

Predicted XI

Al-Maiouf; Abdulhamid, Jang, Al-Bulaihi, Al-Shahrani; Kanno, Cuellar; Marega, Pereira, Al-Dawsari; Ighalo

18:113 months ago

Who is the referee and his assistants?

The referee for Al Hilal vs Chelsea will be Cesar Ramos, with his assistants being Alberto Morin and Miguel Hernandez.

The fourth official will be Clement Turpin, while on VAR duty it will be Mauro Vigliano, being assisted by Nicolas Gallo.

18:063 months ago

Chelsea: Final missing piece

As for Chelsea, they will see this as simply the first of two steps required to win a trophy that, for all their silverware and achievements over the years, has thus far been eluded from their trophy cabinet.

Their previous attempt, back in 2012, saw them lose in the final to Corinthians in Japan, so they’ll want to put that right and return with the cup this time around.

As a result of their previous experience in this competition, they will be fully aware that there is potential for an upset, so will be alert to that, and as such will be considered major favourites heading into this one.

Plus, with Thomas Tuchel’s side still in four other competitions apart from this one, added onto the fact they won the UEFA Super Cup earlier this season, and it has the potential to be a very special campaign for the Blues.

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lifts the trophy after winning with his team the UEFA Super Cup Final match between Chelsea CF and Villarreal CF at Windsor Park on August 11, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lifts the trophy after winning with his team the UEFA Super Cup Final match between Chelsea CF and Villarreal CF at Windsor Park on August 11, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
18:013 months ago

Al Hilal: Looking to cause an upset

Realistically, any team that is going up against the current holders of the UEFA Champions League will know that they are in for a tough match, so it’s no surprise that Al Hilal are the underdogs here.

However, they managed to get past Al Jazira in the second round with a huge 6-1 win, thanks to goals from six different scorers - the biggest ever win in the competition's history.

It's also worth remembering that they are the respective champions of their continental competition, beating Pohang Steelers 2-0 in the AFC Champions League final back in November 2021 which allowed them to get to this point.

Currently, they sit fourth in their league, and so while they might not be expected to get a result, stranger things have certainly happened before, and so Leonardo Jardim’s side will hope they can cause a big upset against the Champions of Europe in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday evening.

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17:563 months ago

The match will be played at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium

The Al Hilal vs Chelsea match will be played at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, in Abu Dhabi, with a capacity of 37,500 people.

It has been renovated on multiple occasions to increase capacity, and was one of several stadiums used for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, including one of the semi final games between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

17:513 months ago

Welcome to's live coverage of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup match: Al Hilal vs Chelsea live updates!

My name is Noah Robson and I'll be your host for this game. We will provide you with pre-game analysis, score updates, and news as it happens live here on VAVEL.

It’s the second semi final of this competition, and it’s potentially one step closer to silverware and glory for either of the two sides going up against one another in this one.