Real Madrid beats Al Ain 4-1 to win Club World Cup again
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 23, 2018 08:27 AM
Real Madrid's Luka Modric holds the trophy after winning the Club World Cup final soccer match between Real Madrid and Al Ain at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018. Real Madrid won 4-1. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Luka Modric scored one goal and set up another in leading Real Madrid to the Club World Cup title by easing past host side Al Ain 4-1 on Saturday.
Ballon d'Or winner Modric struck from long range in the 14th minute after a promising start by the underdog Al Ain. He then placed a corner kick for Sergio Ramos to put the result beyond doubt at 3-0 in the 79th.
Midfielder Marcos Llorente also scored from outside the area for Madrid's second goal to help the European champions claim a record-extending seventh world title.
Losing 3-0, Al Ain defender Tsukasa Shiotani headed in a consolation goal, then teammate Yahia Nader scored an own goal in stoppage time.
Madrid, which has won the last three Champions Leagues, has also won the last three Club World Cups. It has three more world titles than the next best, AC Milan.
"It's been an unforgettable year for me," said Modric, who led Croatia to the World Cup final in July. "It's been perfect. We won the Champions League, I had a spectacular World Cup with Croatia, and now I have won another title with Madrid. It's been a dream year."
Al Ain reached the final after proving to be the surprise of the short tournament. The local club from the United Arab Emirates upset South American champion River Plate in the semifinals on penalties.
Shortly after a deflected pass by Llorente hit the post in the third minute, Al Ain put a scare into Madrid with two chances from Hussein El Shahat.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to rush out to impede him from getting a great scoring chance from close range. Then, a mistake by Marcelo left El Sahat alone to round Courtois, only for Ramos to hustle back and block his shot on the line.
But the rest of the way Madrid lived up to its elite status and the talent gap was evident between the sides.
Modric put Madrid in charge a minute later when he curled an unstoppable left-footed shot around a defender and diving goalie Khalid Eisa.
Then Lucas Vazquez sent a shot just by the post, Karim Benzema fired high, and Gareth Bale's header drew a save from Eisa before halftime.
It fell to Llorente to double the lead with half an hour left when he blasted in a powerful low strike when a clearance of a corner kick fell to him outside the box.
It was his first goal for Madrid, as he continues to impress playing for the injured Casemiro in recent weeks.
"This title is merited by my players," Madrid coach Santiago Solari said.
Of Llorente, he added: "He has been working hard, even when no one was watching."
Earlier, River beat Kashima Antlers 4-0 for third place.