Real Madrid crowned Club World Cup champions after eight-goal thriller against Al-Hilal

Real Madrid crowned Club World Cup champions after eight-goal thriller against Al-Hilal
Vinicius Junior was on hand to score the first and last goal of the final for Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior was on hand to score the first and last goal of the final for Real Madrid
Al-Hilal, the first Saudi Arabian club to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final, fell at the decisive hurdle to a powerful Real Madrid side, whose 5-3 victory in Rabat made it five wins from as many CWC final appearances to establish themselves as the world’s greatest club once again.

Real Madrid are a tough proposition even for most seasoned European heavyweights, but Al-Hilal initially looked the likelier side to score, and buoyed by their historic 3-2 defeat of Flamengo in the semi-final, the rank underdogs focused their early attacks through playmaker Luciano Vietto.

Nevertheless, the tide soon turned, and Real Madrid besieged their defence with wave after wave of attacks.

With less than 15 minutes gone under the lights in Morocco, Karim Benzema helped carve apart the floundering Al-Hilal back line, before Vinicius Junior strode into the penalty area and beat Abdullah Al-Mayouf with aplomb, opening the scoring in his second consecutive Club World Cup match.

The all-time record champions had found their devastating rhythm, and they marched on to make it two just five minutes later.

Luka Modric’s whipped ball into the box was only partly dealt with by the Blue Waves, and the ball found its way to a lurking Federico Valverde on the edge of the area, whose volley found the net with the help of a deflection.

Despite the mountain to climb, Al-Hilal’s courage never wavered, and they sliced apart Real’s defence in a scintillating attack worthy of any Blancos side.

Moussa Marega was the eventual beneficiary, and he thundered towards goal to confidently beat Andriy Lunin, lifting the roof off the Stade Moulay Abdellah.

Still with fragile dreams of becoming the first team ever from outside Europe and South America to lift the trophy, Al-Hilal continued their momentum after half time, but they were to be pegged back once again by a moment of brilliance from Real Madrid’s superstars.

Eduardo Camavinga linked up well with Vinicius Junior, and the Brazilian produced a wicked outside-of-the-foot cross to bemuse Al-Hilal’s backline and find the feet of Benzema, who was tasked with the easiest of finishes.

Los Blancos rumbled on like a well-oiled machine, and Valverde made it four after being fed a brilliant ball from Dani Carvajal, guiding the ball into the net to make it 4-1.

Al-Hilal’s chances of untold glory looked remote, but they were given fresh intent by a Saud Abdulhamid ball which released Vietto through on goal, and the former Atletico midfielder delicately dinked the ball over stand-in keeper Lunin for a goal against his old LaLiga enemies.

The match swung backwards and forwards, and Real were next on the scoresheet when substitute Dani Ceballos found Vinicius Junior, who curled the ball emphatically into the far corner.

In a CWC final for the ages, the goals kept coming, and Ramon Diaz’s side did not give up.

Vietto was the man to have the last word even if the trophy wasn’t forthcoming, and he evaded several Real defenders before turning and finishing into an almost empty net to make the score a remarkable 5-3.

Although troubled at times on the night, Real Madrid made certain to extend their record in this competition to a fifth title.

Yet, the bravery on display from this valiant Al-Hilal side, whilst unable to see them victorious, will no doubt be enough to inspire a nation - if not all of Asia - to future glory on the world stage.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

Check out the stats from the Club World Cup Final with Flashscore.


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