Match Report: Al Jazira 1 – Real Madrid 2: Los Blancos Into...

Match Report: Al Jazira 1 – Real Madrid 2: Los Blancos Into Final


Gareth Bale came off the bench to score the winner and see Real Madrid through to the Club World Cup Final after a 1-2 victory over Al Jazira on Wednesday. Los Blancos will now play Brazilian side Gremio to decide the tournament on Saturday.

Real Madrid were slow out of the blocks in the unfamiliar surroundings of the United Arab Emirates. Perhaps a little jet-lagged, they lacked urgency in the early stages and allowed Al Jazira more time on the ball than was expected pre-match.

When Real did get going they had two goals ruled out. Cristiano Ronaldo was deemed to have committed a foul in the build up to Karim Benzema scoring a header, before the video assistant referee (VAR) gave offside against Benzema to chalk off a Casemiro goal.

The underdogs then struck first to take a 1-0 lead at the interval through a goal from Brazilian forward Romarinho on 41 minutes. It could have been even worse but after earlier falling foul of VAR, Real Madrid were grateful for the system correctly identifying a Mbark Boussoufa goal as being offside.

Zinedine Zidane had clearly had words with his players at half-time and Real Madrid looked much more purposeful in their play immediately after the restart. Ronaldo equalised on 53 minutes and the European Champions began to turn the screw. Benzema twice hit the woodwork, before Bale came off the bench to score the winner with his very first touch of the game on 81 minutes.

It was the 28-year-old’s second appearance since sustaining a calf injury in September and grabbing a goal will hopefully give the Welshman a confidence boost after a difficult couple of months. Bale is set to feature in Saturday’s final, which if Real win, they will equal Barcelona’s record of three tournament wins.