Real Madrid Club World Cup semi-final moved to Marrakech

Questions were raised about the condition of the pitch following Cruz Azul’s extra-time win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday and Fifa has confirmed the switch


Real Madrid’s Club World Cup semi-final against Cruz Azul on Tuesday has been moved to Marrakech due to poor pitch conditions in Rabat.

The state of the surface at the Stade Prince Moulay Abdellah has been a hot topic since the tournament began last Wednesday, with none of the teams involved being able to train on the pitch before their matches due to concerns over wear and tear.

And a torrential downpour on Saturday conspired to churn the turf up dramatically during the two quarter-finals clashes between Setif and Auckland City and Cruz Azul against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Azul coach Luis Fernando Tena and captain Gerardo Torrado both expressed concern that the pitch might not be fit to play by the time Real Madrid were due to arrive for Tuesday’s semi-final, and the Spanish club were known to have spoken to Fifa regarding a possible change.

“We need to take into account the way that they apply corrective measures on the turf, so let us hope that they have the ability to make it recover,” Tena told Goal after Saturday’s game. “But we have to be realistic, and there is very little time available for it to recover.”

Fifa confirmed the change to the Grand Stade de Marrakech in a statement on Sunday, saying:

“Due to the difficult pitch conditions at the Complexe Sportif Prince Moulay Abdellah in Rabat, the Fifa  Organising Committee has decided, following consultation with the Local Organising Committee to play match 4 (Cruz Azul FC v Real Madrid CF) in Marrakech and not in Rabat as previously scheduled.

“The match will kick off on Tuesday, December 16 at 20:30CET.”

The switch means all of the remaining five games of the tournament will take place in Marrakech in the space of four days between Tuesday and Saturday.

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