Kashima Antlers 1-3 Real Madrid: Red-hot Bale leads Real to FIFA Club World Cup final 
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA via Getty Images

Kashima Antlers 1-3 Real Madrid: Red-hot Bale leads Real to FIFA Club World Cup final 

Los Blancos register 3-1 win in the semi-final against Japan’s Kashima Antlers

Azeem Siddiqui

Real Madrid’s ongoing season is nothing short of a nightmare for one of the continental giants. Just six months ago, the club looked in the dreamland after winning their third consecutive Champions League title, which was also their 13th overall, most in the competition’s history.

But things started to fall apart soon after days after guiding the Los Blancos to a historic triumph, manager Zinedine Zidane stepped down.

It was a blow which came out of nowhere and many feared that it was going to be a hard and long route of recovery.

But soon, things got even worse for the Spanish giants as legend Cristiano Ronaldo left the club and joined Italian champions Juventus in arguably the biggest deal of the summer transfer window.

What followed afterwards was months of disaster for Los Blancos as they suffered UEFA Super Cup defeat against city-rivals Atletico Madrid, 5-1 humiliation in the El Classico against Barcelona and biggest home defeat in the Champions League in over a decade at home against CSKA Moscow.

All of those performances meant there were serious questions about Real coming into this year's FIFA Club World Cup.

Manager Santiago Solari in a press talk on the eve of their first match of the tournament, made it clear that Real will not be taking any team lightly in this tournament, and that the team’s only focus is on lifting the trophy once again.

And the team from Spanish capital just showed that in a thumping 3-1 win in the semi-final clash against Kashima Antlers on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.

Solari fielded a strong lineup for the clash and it proved to be too hot for the team from Japan who had no answer to Real’s attacking strength.

Bale’s masterclass show

It took Los Blancos 44 minutes to open the scoring when Gareth Bale scored the team’s first on the pass from Marcelo, which was a well-deserved lead at the half-time.

In the second-half, the Welshman continued threatening the opposition’s goal and scored two more to complete his hat-trick.

It was the kind of performance which would give Real and manager Solari much-needed relief in their hunt to find an outright striker from within the squad which can lead team’s attack in the rest of the season.