Real Madrid wins Club World Cup for a fifth time by beating Al Hilal
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Real Madrid defeated Al Hilal 5-3 in the tumultuous Club World Cup final on Saturday, with Vinicius Junior scoring twice in the process.
The Brazilian winger, who has faced racist abuse in Spain this season, let his football do the talking in Rabat as Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid lifted the trophy.
Madrid was never genuinely challenged by the Saudi Arabian champions thanks to two goals from Federico Valverde and one from Karim Benzema on his return from a minor injury.
Al Hilal defeated Flamengo in the semifinals, but defeating the UEFA Champions League champions was a step too much, despite the fact that they occasionally worried Real Madrid.
In the 13th minute, Vinicius gave Madrid the lead when Benzema found him open to the left of the goal. Although the Brazilian’s right-footed shot was not the most accurate, it managed to get past Abdullah Al Muaiouf’s goalkeeper defenses.
A minute later, Luciano Vietto of Argentina came close to tying the score when his low shot from 20 yards went just inches wide of the left post. However, Madrid increased its lead to 2-0 in the 18th minute.
Al Muaiouf couldn’t handle Luka Modric’s whipping cross from the right, so the ball bounced out to Valverde, whose 15-yard skidding volley beat both the goalie and defender Ali Al Bulayhi. Al Muaiouf performed better a short while later when he blocked a Benzema strike.
When Moussa Marega sprinted through to shoot past Andriy Lunin in the 26th minute, any notion Los Blancos may be in an easy situation vanished. Benzema then missed a good opportunity late in the half to restore the two-goal margin.
In the 54th minute, Benzema did not make a similar error, meeting a cross from Vinicius on the left with a potent close-range strike. Vinicius hit the ball with the outside of his right boot, and Benzema read it correctly, making a quick move that left three markers unmarked.
In the 58th minute, Dani Carvajal and Valverde skillfully worked a route into the Al Hilal penalty area down the Madrid right, where Valverde finished off his second goal of the match.
After cutting Madrid’s lead to 4-2, Vietto ran behind Antonio Rudiger and chipped the ball past Lunin five minutes later. Vinicius quickly restored the three-goal cushion with a beautiful finish into the right corner.
In the 79th minute, Vietto scored once more, but Madrid managed to avoid any further costly defensive errors to win the championship.