Real Madrid reach Club World Championship final with win over Club America

15 December 2016 01:38

Goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in stoppage time at the end of both halves earned Real Madrid a 2-0 win over Club America and a place in Sunday's final of the FIFA Club World Championship.

The European champions did just enough to see off the Mexicans in Yokohama and will now take on Japanese side Kashima Antlers.

Benzema struck in added time at the end of the first half, clipping the ball into the roof of the net, and after Real failed to make the most of their possession , Ronaldo - named on Monday night as the world's best player following a fourth Ballon d'Or award - drilled in a low shot which was eventually awarded after the referee had called for a video review.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had left captain Sergio Ramos out of the starting XI, cautious of not overloading the defender who had scored crucial late goals in his last two LaLiga appearances.

Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez started in defence, while Brazilian Casemiro was named in midfield as Benzema led the attack alongside Ronaldo.

CONCACAF Champions League holders Club America were aiming to become the first team from Mexico to make the final of the FIFA-backed tournament.

Before kick-off at the Yokohama Stadium, there was a minute's silence in honour of the Chapecoense players and staff killed in last month's plane crash.

As expected, Real Madrid enjoyed plenty of possession, with Ronaldo getting clear early on only to fire wide and then saw his shot come back off a post, but the Portugal forward had already been flagged offside.

Ronaldo struck the woodwork again in the 25th minute when his glancing header from Lucas Vazquez's cross hit a post and the Portuguese forward remained Real's main attacking outlet as he then dragged a low shot across the face of goal.

Club America finally threatened when William da Silva burst clear, but his long-range shot was pushed behind by Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

The European champions took the lead in first-half stoppage-time when Toni Kroos' through ball picked out Benzema in the penalty area and the France forward stabbed the ball into the top corner with the outside of his boot.

The second half continued in a similar pattern, with Real Madrid dominating possesion but failing to really stretch the Mexican rearguard.

The Spaniards did finally open up the Club America defence again as the hour mark passed, Vazquez cutting the ball back from the right to Ronaldo, but his goal-bound effort was blocked.

Ronaldo's header was then off target before Luka Modric's acrobatic effort flew wide.

Real, who were on a 35-match unbeaten run, went close again during the closing stages as Vazquez released skipper Marcelo, who in turn picked out substitute Alvaro Morata but his shot was wide.

Eventually, the LaLiga leaders got their second goal, Ronaldo collecting a pass from substitute James Rodriguez and promptly drilling a low shot past goalkeeper Moises Munoz.

Paraguay referee Enrique Caceres briefly caused some confusion as he signalled for a video assistant referee consultation, which is being trialled at the FIFA tournament, before it was decided there was no infringement and the goal stood.

Source: PA


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