It was all there for Sebastian Giovinco. He drew a foul in a dangerous position and lined up to take a tasty free kick from a comfortable distance.
It’s a situation Toronto FC fans have seen numerous times over the Italian’s four-year dominance of Major League Soccer. A goal here would have given Al Hilal a late second-half lead against Brazilian powerhouse Flamengo in the FIFA Club World Cup semifinals.
Instead, the Atomic Ant missed the target and, not long after, the South American champions shifted into another gear and struck twice in a four-minute span to reach the Club World Cup final courtesy of a 3-1 win at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha Tuesday.
Flamengo advance to face the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Liverpool and Mexico’s Monterrey, while Giovinco and Al Hilal meet the loser of that match in the third place match.
Giovinco was influential to give the Saudi Arabian club a shock lead in the 18th minute, helping set up Salem Al-Dawsari’s opening goal.
Giorgian De Arrascaeta leveled early in the second half and Bruno Henrique split defenders to head in the go-ahead goal to cap a well-worked sequence for Flamengo in the 78th minute.
An own goal by Ali Al-Bulaihi followed in the 82nd minute and any hope Al Hilal had of a late comeback went up in flame when Andre Carrillo was sent off by referee Ismael Elfath on a straight red card one minute later.