Bale scores 3, Madrid beats Kashima 3-1 at Club World Cup

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

GARETH Bale put Real Madrid back in the fi­nal of the Club World Cup by scor­ing a hat trick to lead a com­fort­able 3-1 win over Ja­pan’s Kashima Antlers on Wed­nes­day.

Madrid had qual­i­fied for the tour­na­ment be­tween the top teams on each con­ti­nent in large part thanks to Bale, who scored twice in the 3-1 win over Liver­pool in May’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal.

Bale scored his first goal against Kashima just be­fore half­time and added two more quickly after the break to de­cide the match.

“It’s an im­por­tant vic­tory,” Bale said. “We knew it would be a dif­fi­cult game against a team that would make it dif­fi­cult for us, so we just had to be pro­fes­sion­als and get to the fi­nal.”

Madrid will next play host side Al Ain FC on Satur­day, when the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons will be heav­ily fa­vored to claim a fourth club world ti­tle.

“I’m happy for the three great goals by Bale, and for the strength and con­sis­tency showed by the team,” said Madrid man­ager San­ti­ago So­lari.

So­lari said that an­other world ti­tle would be “a prize for this team that has given its fans so much and ac­com­plished the feat of win­ning three straight Cham­pi­ons Leagues. Adding three straight Club World Cups would be fan­tas­tic.”

Wed­nes­day’s game was a re­match of the 2016 fi­nal, when Madrid needed ex­tra time to beat Kashima 4-2. This time they had no trou­ble. Kashima had a promis­ing start as Serginho shot just wide and Gen Shoji al­most reached a cor­ner kick that would have left him with a point­blank header in the third minute.

Madrid, how­ever, took con­trol and started prob­ing the right side as Bale’s speed proved too much to han­dle.

Karim Ben­zema and Ser­gio Ramos sent head­ers wide be­fore Bale ex­changed a quick pair of passes with Marcelo to score off the far post in the 43rd minute. Bale’s sec­ond goal in the 53rd minute came after two hor­ri­ble passes by Kashima de­fend­ers left their goal­keeper stranded and he added his third two min­utes later after Marcelo found him alone in the box.

Bale was re­placed by Marco Asen­sio, who later had to leave with an ap­par­ent leg in­jury. Kashima’s Shoma Doi then closed the scor­ing with a goal in the 78th minute. The match was in­ter­rupted in stop­page time when two fans ran onto the field to­ward Ben­zema and Marcelo. They were quickly re­moved by sta­dium se­cu­rity.– AP

Photo: AP

Real’s Gareth Bale cel­e­brates after scor­ing his side’s sec­ond goal dur­ing the match be­tween Real Madrid and Kashima Antlers in Abu Dhabi, on Wed­nes­day.

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