Azeem Siddiqui reporting from the ZSC Stadium for VAVEL UK
Real Madrid thrashed home team Al Ain FC in the final of the Club World Cup with the 4-1 scoreline in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. With this victory, Los Blancos became the first side to lift the title in three consecutive years.
Real's total dominance
Real dominated the game from the start till the end and were the much-deserving winners in the end.
The Spanish giants came close to opening the scoring early in the first-half, but their effort hit the post. After that, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale’s shots were stopped by Al Ain goalkeeper.
It took Real 14 minutes to open the scoring when Luka Modric curled one to the right bottom corner.
After that, Benzema had another chance to double the team’s lead, but his shot went over the bar, whereas Bale and Modric’s efforts were saved by Khalid Essa.
The home side’s only real chance came early in the first-half when Real’s left-back Marcelo’s back pass nearly costed the visitors, but captain Sergio Ramos showed his class and reminded everyone that he is one of the best in his position with a goal-line clearance.
Even in the second half, the visitors continued their dominance by creating numerous chances, but Al Ain goalkeeper was up to the task on most of the occasion.
However, at the 60-minute mark, Marcos Llorente finally managed to get the better of Essa with a thunderous strike to make it 2-0, which pretty much secure a much-deserving win.
Then on the 78th minute, Ramos scored with a tread mark header to make it 3-0 for the Los Blancos.
Only consolation for the home side came in the 86th minute when Japan’s Tsukasa Shiotani scored team’s only goal on the day.
Llorente’s promotion to senior team was done keeping in mind the need of a backup for Casemiro in the central defensive midfield role.
But the 23-year-old never really had a chance to show what he is capable of as Casemiro stayed fit and gave managers in the past much needed control in the centre of the park.
With Casemiro getting injured, manager Santiago Solari finally had a chance to try someone else in that role.
He first gave the opportunity to Dani Ceballos to fill the void left by the absence of Brazil international, but later moved to Llorente in what was a role tailor-made for him.
And this time, the Madrid-born midfielder grabbed that opportunity with both hands and put in a number of impressive performances one after another.
It was the same story for him in the all-important finale as well, where he not only provided the sheet to defensive line by tracking back efficiently and making numerous timely tackles, but also showed his attacking instinct by scoring team’s second goal as well.
It was the kind of performance which will increase Solari’s confidence in Llorente, who might get more chances in the future even after the return of Casemiro.