Real Madrid will play on Saturday the final of the FIFA Club World Cup against Al-Ain after beating (1-3) Kashima Antlers in the second semi-finals. Los Blancos were warned after River Plate knockout and they didn’t give any chance to the Japanese team. Despite playing a bad first half, Gareth Bale again was decisive in a very important game and he scored a great hat-trick. Los Blancos will play their third staright final in this tournament.
Santiago Hernán Solari introduced his best starting eleven, with Lucas Vázquez and Gareth Bale as wingers. The Welshman was finally recovered after getting injured against CSKA Moscow. Marcos Llorente was again the stopper because Casemiro is not yet fit for this tournament.
The line-up showed that Real Madrid manager respected too much Kashima Antlers. And he was totally right. Actually, in the first two minutes, the Asian champion could score twice, but Courtois saved the first one and the corner kick didn’t find any head. Los Blancos tried to reply after the first 10 minutes and they took control of the game. However, they weren’t able to create clear chances, with Benzema very active but far from the goal.
Real Madrid played very slow, without finding the rival goalkeeper until the 43rd minute. Marcelo served a great pass to Gareth Bale, who found the net unblocking the scoreboard. A very important goal just before the half-time. It was a bad first half for Los Blancos, but they took the lead.
The second half was totally different, especially because Kashima gave too many options to Los Blancos. Gareth Bale nailed the second goal after a big mistake of the defense and just two minutes later he repeated. A hat-trick for the Welshman to qualify Real Madrid for the final against Al-Ain.
After these two goals, the game was over. Solari started to make changes and saved Bale for the final. At least, we could see Isco again, always good news. It wasn’t everything positive, because Asensio got injured in the last minutes. Casemiro, who played after several weeks out of the team, was his substitute. Real Madrid played very relaxed and Kashima could scored his goal in the 78th minute thanks to Doi.
Real Madrid should win this tournament as they are a much better team than their rivals, especially if they take the games seriously as they did today. However, the team is still very slow and they are very far away from playing well football.