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 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.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3)
Thibaut Courtois – 6: As expected, didn’t have a great deal to do. Bailed out by backtracking skipper Ramos for Al Ain’s best chance.
Dani Carvajal – 6: Experienced an intriguing battle with Boss danger man Caio. Got usual amount of overlaps in, but this left space for the Brazilian to exploit.
Raphael Varane – 7: Stuck out a giant leg to push El Shahat, critically, wide in the first half. Then used ball well to get Madrid going.
Sergio Ramos – 8: Expert at playing the villain. Booed for last season’s clash with Mohamed Salah, cleared off the line and headed in the third.
Marcelo – 6: Sloppy header gifted El Shahat a shot at glory. Was otherwise as you’d expect – a bustling attacking presence down the left.
Luka Modric – 8: It was fitting that 2018’s greatest player struck a stunning opener in the Club World Cup-decider. A class apart.
Marcos Llorente – 7: Did not waste chance to start in successive games. Was utilised as a box-to-box option. Pure technique for second.
Toni Kroos – 7: Usual exhibition of midfield excellence. Rarely wasted the ball and read play to help cut out Al Ain counter-attacks at source.
Lucas Vazquez – 5: A quiet night for the Spain winger. Ex-Japan defender Shiotani provided a blockade he could not break through.
Karim Benzema – 7: Quiet excellence from the former France striker. Set-up play was outstanding, the delicate chested flick for Modric’s goal providing a highlight.
Gareth Bale – 6: There was no repeat of his hat-trick heroics from the semi-final. Almost struck via a header. Good battle with Ahmed.
Dani Ceballos – 6: Kept things ticking over for dominant Madrid.
Casemiro – N/A: More minutes under the belt for returning Brazil defensive midfielder.
Vinicius Junior – N/A: Dancing feet and speed forced own goal by Nader.
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