In the semifinal clash in Yokohama, Karim Benzema opened the scoring right on half time and in second half stoppage time recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo added a second (the 500th goal of his career) as Real extended its unbeaten run to 36 games in all competitions with the 2-0 win.
In truth it was a pretty low-key encounter between UEFA Champions League winners Real and reigning CONCACAF Champions League champs Club America, but the quality of Zinedine Zidane’s team shone through in the end.
Real will now face Japanese champions Kashima Antlers on Sunday in the final in Yokohama after the team from the host nation shocked Atletico Nacional in the other semifinal.
Club America and Atletico Nacional will play the in the third place match, also in Yokohama on Sunday.
Below are the highlights of Thursday’s Club World Cup semifinal, as Real now aim to become the fourth-straight European winners of the competitions which has seen eight of its last nine champions hail from Europe.
Benzema’s lovely finish opened the scoring right on half time
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane wouldn’t be surprised if Cristiano Ronaldo keeps winning awards.
Ronaldo earned his fourth Ballon d’Or prize on Monday, and is now targeting a third title at the Club World Cup.
“It is very rare that one player wins so many awards,” Zidane said Wednesday. “His fourth Ballon d’Or is a great achievement. It is not something you can easily achieve. Maybe he deserves a fifth Ballon d’Or.”
Another trophy would move Ronaldo level with Lionel Messi.
Madrid is in Japan to face Mexican side Club America in the Club World Cup semifinals on Thursday. The team, currently in first place in the Spanish league, is favored to win yet another title.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will miss the match, but Zidane is hopeful he will be fit to return if Madrid makes the final.
“He is not in a serious condition but he is a little bit tired after a long journey and I don’t want to put him under any physical pressure,” Zidane said.
Club America came from a goal down to beat South Korean side Jeonbuk Hyundai 2-1 in Sunday’s quarterfinals. The Mexican side is marking its centenary this year, and Zidane is sure they are highly motivated.
“Some clubs only have one chance in a lifetime to play against Real Madrid and I think it is a very good opportunity for them,” the former France great said.
Madrid hasn’t lost in any competition since April 6, a run which has stretched to a club record 35 games.
The Kashima Antlers punched their ticket to the competition’s finale after defeating South American side Atletico Nacional, 3-0.
With the victory, the Japanese club will either face Real Madrid or Club America in the tournament final on Sunday.
Kashima took the lead in the 33rd minute after a historic moment occurred when a video assistant referee (VAR) decision was used to determine a penalty kick. Shouma Doi converted the ensuing spot kick, before Yasushi Endoh and Yuma Suzuki tacked on insurance for the team playing on home soil.
Meanwhile, Jeonbuk captured fifth place in the tournament after a convincing 4-1 win over South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns saw the South Korean club take home the honors.
A trio of first-half finishes gave Jeonbuk a decisive advantage before the halftime, while a late tally from Kim Shin-Wook ensured the victory would go the side’s way.
Mamelodi pulled a goal back through Percy Tau three minutes into the second stanza, but any potential comeback attempt was halted by Shin-Wook’s late strike.
During Wednesday’s FIFA Club World Cup semifinal match between the Kashima Antlers and Atletico Nacional, history was made as a video assistant referee (VAR) used instant replay technology to determine a penalty kick decision.