REPORT | 18/12/2016 | Alberto NavarroCristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick and an opening goal from Benzema gave Real Madrid the win in a final which was decided in extra time.
- Club World Cup
Real Madrid were dominant from the start, showing their clear intent to be crowned world champions here in Japan. They only needed 9 minutes to get their noses in front. Modric rifled in a shot from the edge of the box, which Sogahata stopped but Benzema was on hand for the rebound, scooping the ball into the net.
Despite being a goal to the good, the Whites continued to be more dangerous than their opponents on the attack. Benzema combined with Lucas Vázquez, who flicked the ball back to him and the Frenchman's blasted shot in the 27th minute forced Sogahata to make a great save. The Whites had another chance just 10 minutes later, but Modric's shot from the edge of the box ended up in the goalkeeper's hands.
The game was going Real Madrid's way, but just before half-time, Kashima Antlers found an equaliser after a one-off attack. Shoma crossed the ball overon the stroke of 44 minutes and Shibasaki pounced on the loose ball in the area to beat Keylor Navas.
It was now a case of starting afresh with all of the second half to come. Things became more difficult for Madrid in the 52nd minute following a peach of a left-footed shot from Shibasaki, who netted his second of the game. Real Madrid did not take long to react however, and soon levelled. Just 7 minutes later, Benzema again linked up with Lucas Vázquez who was brought down in the box by Shuto. Cristiano Ronaldo took the penalty to make it 2-2.
The European champions were beginning to exert more pressure on the opposition's box. A wonderful piece of individual play from Benzema on the left with 65 on the clock saw his pull back stop at the feet of Marcelo, who rifled the ball into the goalkeeper’s hands. The next opening provided Madrid with a really gilt-edged chance on 72 minutes. Marcelo crossed to Cristiano Ronaldo, who nodded the ball back into the path of Benzema, who did the rest. He took the ball down with his right foot with his back to goal, before crafting an incredible volley with his left on the half-turn, but Sogahata’s intervention was more than equal to it.
Real Madrid were more than deserving of the winning goal, and they had an opportunity to seal it in the 80th minute. A cross from Lucas Vázquez was turned towards goal by Cristiano Ronaldo but it slipped just past the post. The Portuguese man’s next chance, just two minutes later, was even clearer still, but the Japanese goalkeeper came out on top in the one-on-one. Both teams looked threatening as the game headed into extra time.
The Ballon d’Or winner proves decisive
One name stood out above the rest during extra time in this final’s decisive moments; that name, was Cristiano Ronaldo. In the 98th minute, he received a spectacular pass from Benzema and made no mistake with his left foot. The Portuguese forward had put his team in the driving seat, but 6 minutes later he would go on to complete his hat-trick and put the final to bed. Kroos’ shot fell at the feet of Ronaldo, who beat Sogahata once more with his left.
There was almost time for a fifth, following a wonderful piece of play by Morata, who had come on in place of Cristiano, but Ueda cleared the ball off the line. Real Madrid, who have now made it 37 games unbeaten, are crowned world champions for a fifth time.