Football: Real Madrid beat Kashima Antlers for spot in Club World Cup final
ABU DHABI. KAZINFORM Spanish giants Real Madrid advanced to the FIFA Club World Cup final with a 3-1 victory over Japan's Kashima Antlers in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
In a rematch of the 2016 final at Yokohama's Nissan Stadium, Gareth Bale scored a hat trick to run the show for Real and help set up a showdown against host side Al Ain on Saturday, where they will try and win the tournament for the third year in a row, Kyodo News reports.
"They took advantage of our defensive flop and scored just before half time, and that's when we let the game slip away," Kashima manager Go Oiwa said of Bale's opening goal in the 44th minute.
"They were mentally strong after they took the lead. I feel like we could have controlled the game more," he said.
Shoma Doi pulled one back for the Asian champions in the 78th minute, but it was too little, too late as Bale tore the Antlers apart with three goals in the space of 11 minutes before the J-League side reduced the deficit with Doi's consolation effort.
Real face Al Ain in the final at the Zayed Sports City Stadium, while Kashima meet River Plate of Argentina in the third-place playoff.