Real Madrid win Club World Cup
Real Madrid defeated San Lorenzo of Argentina 2-0 on Saturday to win the Club World Cup and secure their fourth trophy of 2014.
The Spanish giants dominated the final with Sergio Ramos, who had been an injury doubt because of a hamstring strain, and Gareth Bale getting on the scoresheet.
Real added the year-ending trophy to the Champions League, Copa del Rey and European Super Cup titles they had already secured in 2014. They will also end the year on top of La Liga.
Saturday’s triumph was also their 22nd consecutive win in all competitions, and they now have in their sights the mark of 26 straight wins achieved by Johan Cruyff’s Ajax side in 1971-72.
“Couldn’t think of a better Christmas present, FIFA World Club Champions 2014!! #HalaMadrid,” tweeted Bale after the match.
Ramos opened the scoring after 37 minutes when he rose above the San Lorenzo defence to send a thumping header past goalkeeper Sebastian Torrico from a Toni Kroos corner.
Bale made it 2-0 six minutes into the second half when he collected a pass from Isco and fired the ball straight at Torrico. But the Argentine ‘keeper made a terrible hash of the Welshman’s tame shot and fumbled the ball over the line.
Real ‘keeper Iker Casillas was relatively untroubled, called into serious action for the first time well after the hour mark to keep out an Emmanuel Mas drive.
At the other end, Karim Benzema went close to a third Real goal but his touch went wide of the post. Cristiano Ronaldo had a quiet night and failed to get on the end of a Benzema cross in the 80th minute.
In the last minute, San Lorenzo’s Juan Mercier unleashed a powerful, long distance drive which was saved by a diving Casillas.
Earlier, New Zealand’s Auckland City claimed third place after defeating Cruz Azul 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out to become the first Oceania team to win a medal at the tournament.
The two sides were locked 1-1 at the end of normal time with defender Ryan de Vries’ goal in first-half injury time equalised by Joao Rojas’ close-range effort just before the hour mark for the Mexican side.
In the shoot-out, Sanni Issa scored the eventual winner for the semi-professionals from Auckland. The Kiwis had made the third-place play-off by beating Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan 1-0 and then seeing off African champions Setif of Algeria by the same score.
They narrowly missed out on a place in the final when they conceded an extra-time goal in a 2-1 loss to San Lorenzo.