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Club World Cup, semi-final

Kashima Antlers 1 - Real Madrid 3

Abu Dhabi, UAE. Real Madrid are on track for their third world title in a row and the fourth in their history after beating Kashima Antlers 1-3 in their Club World Cup semi-final. Courtois had to make early saves from Serginho and Doi as the Japanese side looked to surprise their opponents, but Madrid were soon on top, Gareth Bale giving them a first half lead after combining with Marcelo just before the break. And only ten minutes after the restart Bale added two more to complete a hat-trick, the first after some shaky defending gifted him an open goal, and the second from another Marcelo assist. Yamamoto cleared off the line from Benzema in between, and Lucas Vázquez in particular failed to convert a fourth later on, but Solari’s side slowed down after that, and Doi got one back after the VAR system confirmed that there was no offside in the build up to his goal. Madrid’s opponents in Saturday’s final will be local champions Al Ain, who surprisingly won through against Wellington, Espérance and finally River Plate. (19.12.18)