Home side Al Ain beat River Plate to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in the UAE ©Getty Images

Home side Al Ain earned a historic victory over Argentina's River Plate in their home stadium to become the first Arabian side to reach the final of the FIFA Club World Cup.

The Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium was in ferment as the UAE Pro League champions drew 2-2 with the winners of the Copa Libertadores and then won 5-4 on penalties.

The local heroes will now face the winners of tomorrow’s semi-final between Asian champions Kashima Antlers, from Japan, and UEFA Champions league winners Real Madrid, who are seeking a record fourth title.

That match will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and the final will be held on Saturday (December 22) at the same venue.

Al Ain, who beat Oceania champions Team Wellington in a preliminary match before defeating African champions Esperance de Tunis 3-0 in their quarter-final,  maintained their momentum as they went a goal up after just three minutes through their Swedish striker Marcus Berg as he headed home Ahmed Barman’s corner.

Home keeper Khalid Eisa, who ended the night with the man-of-the-match award, maintained the Al Ain advantage with a double save from Lucas Pratto and then Exequiel Palacios.

But he was helpless as Colombia’s Rafael Santos Borre scored twice in the 11th and 16th minute to put River Plate – who lost 3-0 to Barcelona in the 2015 final – in the ascendancy.

Hussein Elshahat thought he had equalised for Al Ain shortly before the break but his effort was ruled out by the video referee for an offside.

Mamic Zoran’s men had to wait until early in the second half to draw level thanks to their Brazilian signing Caio, who scored his first goal of the tournament in the 51st minute.

Caio, let go by São Paulo FC, Santos and then Palmeiras, revived his career with the Kashima Antlers, helping them win the J-League in Japan in 2016 before moving on to Al Ain.

River Plate had it on a plate in the 69th minute when the home side conceded a penalty, but Gonzalo Martinez sent his shot against the bar and there were no further goals in normal or extra time.

The crucial moment in the penalty shoot-out occurred when Eisa saved the fifth Argentinian effort from Enzo Perez.

Esperance de Tunis, in stripes, beat Guadalajara 6-5 on penalties after finishing at 1-1 in their fifth-place match ©Getty Images
Esperance de Tunis, in stripes, beat Guadalajara 6-5 on penalties after finishing at 1-1 in their fifth-place match ©Getty Images

The earlier match in this tournament, to determine fifth place, was also decided on penalties as Esperance de Tunis, winners of the Confederation of African Football Champions League defeated Chivas Guadalajara, Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football league winners, 6-5 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Walter Sandoval put the Mexicans 1-0 up from the penalty spot after five minutes after Sameh Derbali was adjudged to have fouled Angel Zaldivar.

But Tunis equalised from the spot in the 38th minute through Mohammed Belaili after a handball by Jose Carlos Van Rankin.

Tunis had Anice Badri and Houcine Rebai sent off after the break but their opponents failed to make the numerical advantage tell.

So it went to penalties.

Balaili missed his first penalty for Esperance, but Hegardo Marin failed on Guadalajara’s second attempt.

Saad Bguir and Van Ranking both missed with their side’s fourth efforts, before crucially, Issac Bruzuela missed the eighth penalty attempt by the Mexican side.

Saturday's final will be preceded by the third-place match between River Plate and the losers of tomorrow's semi-final.