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Saturday, 8 January, 2000, 02:05 GMT
Football goes nuts in Brazil

Khojalli's team-mates try to persuade him to leave the field


Raja Casablanca 4-3 Al-Nassr

Seven goals, an eccentric goalkeeper and a mystery sending off were just some of the highlights of an extraordinary World Club Championship encounter between football minnows Al-Nassr and Raja Casablanca.

Barely 1,000 spectators remained in Sao Paulo's Morumbi Stadium to watch the Group A match following a sizzling 2-2 draw between soccer giants Real Madrid and home favourites, Corinthians.

"The Charlie Chaplin 11 against the Keystone Cops", was how BBC pundit Mick McCarthy put it.

World Club Championship
McCarthy's first-half analysis was perhaps a trifle cruel - especially given the five-goal burst in the second half.

But though the quality of football may not have lived up to the World Club Championships' billing, the game was nothing if not entertaining.

It was in danger of descending into farce mid-way through the first half when Al Nassr's concussed keeper Khojalli left the field in tears.

Khojalli spent five minutes receiving treatment on the pitch for a knock to the head before struggling to his feet to face a long-range free-kick.


Moussa is congratulated by a team-mate after heading the winner
Still groggy from the collision, there was little Khojalli could do as Omar Nejjary's shot first clipped the defensive wall and was then deflected through his legs and into the net off an Al-Nassr player to give Raja a fortunate equaliser.

Al-Nassr, one of the tournament underdogs, had taken a surprise lead after just five minutes when Saudi international Fuad Al-Amin's poor shot was fumbled by Mustapha Chadili.

The Moroccan keeper made a hash of virtually everything he touched in an inept performance which was mirrored by most of the players on the pitch at some point.

But it was Khojalli who was substituted immediately after the 26th minute equaliser - and he promptly burst into tears as he left the field protesting his good health.

It took at least five Al-Nassr players to persuade him to leave the pitch and even then Khojalli appeared unwilling to stay out of the action, as he proceeded to run up and down the sidelines.

His crazy antics were merely a sideshow in the bizarrest of games.


Al-Nassr's Al Harthi (l) battles with Raja's Mohamed Khoubbache
The performances sharpened up in the second-half but Raja collapsed in a self-destructive two-minute spell which left their revival in tatters.

Al Nassr's Ahmed Bahja slotted home a well-worked second six minutes after the restart before Fahad Al Husseini added a third a minute later with a simple tap in to make it 3-1.

Khojalli's replacement made sure the entertainment continued - Al Dosari's unorthodox methods seeing him punch every shot which came his way in a thoroughly unconvincing keeping display.

But he was not at fault in the 67th minute when Raja Casablanca pulled a goal back through Bouchaib El Moubarki as the game turned on its head.

The 21-year-old substitute was completely unmarked as he rose to power home a well-flighted cross from eight yards to make it 3-2.

Things were to get worse as Al Dosari conceded a freak equaliser from almost 50 yards out when Talal El Karkouri's 72nd minute shot slipped embarrassingly under his body.

There was to be an even stranger turn almost immediately as Raja midfielder Youssef Safri was mysteriously sent off - apparently for violent conduct - with 15 minutes to go leaving the Moroccans with just ten men.

Al-Nassr squandered a hatful of chances before Moussa Saib, the Tottenham player who has been written off at White Hart Lane, thumped home the winner with four minutes remaining.

Teams:

Raja Casablanca: Chadili, El Haimeur, El Karkouri, Misbah, Safri, Jrindou, Moustaoudia, Khoubbache, Nejjary, Aboub, Ereyahi.
Subs: Bouabdellaoui, Daakali, Sarraj, Kharbouch, Armounen, El Moubarki, Hafid, Miki, Achami, Kherazi, Nater, Rizki. Al-Nassr: Khojalli, Al-Husseini, Al-Amin, M. Al-Dosari, Bahja, Al-Mousa, Al-Karni, Saib, Al-Harthi, Sharify, Al Shokia.
Subs: M. Al-Dosari, Sharifi, Al-Halawi, F. Al-Dosari, Aboshahin, Triki, Al-Harbi, Mehalel, Al-Khathran, Al-Janoubi, Al-Ghamdi, Al-Dhaferi. Referee: Derek Rugg (New Zealand)
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