Ronaldo nets hat-trick as Real Madrid win Club World Cup
Posted by News Express | 18 December 2016 | 2,244 times
Real Madrid goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo in celebration mode.
A Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped Real Madrid to avoid a major upset against Kashima Antlers to win the Club World Cup final 4-2 after extra time in Yokohoma Sunday.
With the European champion trailing 2-1 in the second half, Ronaldo leveled with a 60th minute penalty and scored the two further goals in extra time to seal its victory.
The Antlers, the first Japanese side to reach the final of the intercontinental competition, gave Real an almighty scare in front of partisan home support, despite going into the title match as a heavy underdog.
When Karim Benzema put the Spanish side ahead as early as the ninth minute, it looked ominous for the Antlers, who had stunned South American champion Atletico Nacional of Colombia 3-0 in the semifinal.
But just before halftime, Gaku Shibasaki’s fine left foot volley leveled the scores and changed the complexion of the game.
The second half was just seven minutes old when Real caption Sergio Ramos made a hash of a clearance and Shibasaki returned it with vengeance to power his shot past Keylor Navas and to give the Antlers the lead.
Until to that point Ronaldo had been largely subdued, but when Lucas Vazquez won a penalty after being fouled by Shuto Yamamoto, he stepped up to level from the spot.
That was not the end of the drama, with Navas having to make crucial saves to deny Kashima a late victory and Ramos lucky not to be sent off while on a yellow card.
Early in extra time, Benzema released Ronaldo to score his second before Shibasaki’s free kick was headed against the Real crossbar by Yuma Suzuki from close range.
The miss proved vital and within minutes Ronaldo had seized on a scuffed shot from Toni Kroos to complete his hat-trick and seal Real’s second victory in the Club World Cup.
“What a game,” said Ronaldo after helping Real extend is unbeaten run to 37 games, 26 from the start of this season.
“We had to suffer, but that’s what finals are about,” he added. (CNN)