Fine goals from midfielders Luka Modric and Marcos Llorente helped earn a fourth Club World Cup trophy in five editions for Real Madrid as they ended hosts Al Ain’s historic march to the final with a 4-1 win.
At an expectant Zayed Sports City, Modric curled in a beautiful opener on 14 minutes shortly after Hussein El Shahat’s effort was cleared off the line by Sergio Ramos.
Llorente’s half volley on the hour mark – his first for Madrid – and Ramos’ header then killed the game. A memorable headed consolation from Tsukasa Shiotani followed, prior to substitute Yahia Nader’s clumsy injury-time own goal.
AL AIN (4-3-2-1)
Khalid Essa – 8: Al Ain did not win the CWC, but they possessed the tournament’s best player. Pulled off usual range of fine stops.
Mohamed Ahmed – 7: Did exceedingly well to keep Bale, even if half fit, uncharacteristically quiet. Even had pace to shut him down when initially beaten.
Ismail Ahmed – 6: The big man never really got a grip of the nuances of Benzema’s game. But made brilliant second-half tackle to deny Bale.
Mohammed Fayez – 7: Makeshift centre-back, error against River Plate aside, has exceeded expectations. Pulled off important clearing header.
Tsukasa Shiotani – 7: Simply put, the Japanese defender is Al Ain’s ‘Mr Dependable’. Rarely beaten on the ground and then looped in a superb late headed effort.
Rayan Yaslam – 7: Is developing into a real find for club and country. Was not overawed by occasion, with touch and vision staying true.
Mohamed Abdulrahman – 6: Issues with UAE staff should not preclude him from Asian Cup on this evidence. Presence with, or without, the ball.
Tongo Doumbia – 6: The specialist signing for the CWC has given Mamic a problem, going ahead. Continued to grow into tournament.
Hussein El Shahat – 6: Twice went painfully close to producing a memorable opener. Even Madrid found his threat difficult to contain.
Caio – 7: Has built his reputation more than any Al Ain player, except Essa. Magical dribbling, often under pressure, kept full-backs honest.
Marcus Berg – 6: Left to plough a lonely furrow up top. One smart throughball almost teed up El Shahat for a shock opener.
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Bandar Al Ahbabi – 7: Effervescent full-back was given time to impress. Swung in free-kick for Shiotani’s header.
Amer Abdulrahman – 6: Metronome in midfield tried to match it with Modric and Co.
Yahia Nader – N/A: Youngster dropped into defence as Al Ain tired. Prodded in after Vinicius Junior’s driving run.
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