Dominant Madrid march into Club World Cup final
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Real Madrid CF sailed into their first FIFA Club World Cup final after dispatching Cruz Azul FC 4-0 in Marrakech for the Spanish side's 21st straight win in all competitions.
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Real Madrid CF booked their place in Saturday's 2014 FIFA Club World Cup final after goals from Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco saw off Mexican team Cruz Azul FC 4-0 in Marrakech, Morocco.
Carlo Ancelotti's reward for fielding his strongest possible lineup came with first-half strikes from Ramos and Benzema that heralded a 21st consecutive victory in all competitions for the UEFA Champions League winners. However, Iker Casillas's save from Gerardo Torrado's 40th-minute penalty also smoothed the Merengues' way, before Bale and Isco completed an emphatic success in the second period.
With the Spanish Liga leaders facing the winners of Wednesday's semi between South American title holders CA San Lorenzo de Almagro and Oceania's champions Auckland City FC at the same venue at the weekend, skipper Casillas spoke about the "very positive dynamic in the team". "It's been a great year and hopefully we can make it even better," he added.
Up against the CONCACAF champions, Ancelotti's side got off the mark when Toni Kroos delivered a pinpoint cross from a free-kick onto the head of Ramos, and the man who rescued Madrid in stoppage time in May's UEFA Champions League final secured a 15th-minute lead.
Another defender created the second goal nine minutes before the interval. Dani Carvajal skipped past two Cruz Azul defenders on the right and lofted the ball into the six-metre box, where Benzema stabbed home. The Central American team's chance of a route back into the match was blocked when Casillas kept out Torrado's spot kick, awarded for a Ramos foul on Hugo Pavone.
Madrid stamped their collective foot on the accelerator after the restart. Cristiano Ronaldo crossed for Bale to register a second headed goal on 50 minutes and the No7 supplied another assist with 18 minutes remaining: from Ronaldo's cutback to Isco, the midfielder jigged into the area before planting the ball into José Corona's bottom corner.
Ancelotti, whose charges aim to succeed FC Bayern München as world champions, said: "We are doing so well at the moment, we just keep on winning and winning and now we have to prepare for the final." The Santiago Bernabéu outfit are participating in their second Club World Cup having come fourth in the inaugural 2000 edition, though they did lift the old European-South American Cup a joint-record three times.