Ronaldo takes a jibe at video replay at Club World Cup
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, takes a shot at goal during their semifinal match against Club America at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
SEAN CARROLL, Associated Press
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored late, and then took a shot at FIFA's new video replay system.
The Portugal forward put in an injury-time goal Thursday to help Real Madrid beat Club America 2-0 and earn a spot in the Club World Cup final.
But after Ronaldo scored, referee Enrique Caceres appeared to ask for confirmation from his video assistant referee that there was no offside. The Paraguayan official then decided that the goal stood without appearing to view a video himself.
"The television doesn't work, huh?" Ronaldo was overheard saying with a laugh as he left the field.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric was similarly bemused with the new innovation, which also riled several Club America players.
"It is a new system, even a new event, and I do not like it very much," Modric said. "That is because I think it can cause a kind of confusion and we have not had it explained to us in too much detail.
"I do not like football with this kind of a system being introduced," added the Croatia midfielder, who was named Man of the Match. "I want to focus on the match and play my own football, so my first impression was it's not a good system."
Zinedine Zidane, the former France great who is now the coach of Real Madrid, was less critical.
"We need to get used to it. If that is FIFA's policy it is up to us to get used to it," Zidane said. "My personal opinion is that it could cause some confusion but FIFA's technical group will make a good decision. It could be better as everything could become clearer."
The replay system allows referees to halt games to review footage of "game-changing decisions." They can also rely on information being fed by VARs watching broadcast feeds away from the field.
On Wednesday, Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai used video replay for the first time to issue a penalty kick to Japanese champion Kashima Antlers in its 3-0 semifinal win over Colombian side Atletico Nacional.
Madrid, which extended its unbeaten run to 36 games on Thursday, will face Kashima in Sunday's final. The European champions haven't lost in any competition since April 6.
Karim Benzema also scored against Club America, taking a pass from Toni Kroos and beating goalkeeper Moises Munoz with a superb shot in first-half stoppage time.
Ronaldo, who earned his fourth Ballon d'Or on Monday, sent a header off the post in the 26th, and had an open net in the 67th but headed the ball back across the face of the goal.
"We couldn't really find our rhythm in the first half and the pitch was a bit hard," Zidane said. "But we created more opportunities in the second half and I was very happy to see Cristiano score."
Madrid has a shot at becoming the first team to win the Champions League, Spanish league, Copa del Rey and the Club World Cup in the same season. It leads the Spanish league, is through to the knockout stage of the Champions League, and is alive in the Copa del Rey.
"We're highly motivated to win this tournament," Zidane said. "We traveled a long way and have jet lag but we are very well prepared in terms of being motivated to win the Club World Cup."