Real Madrid coasts into Club World Cup final
Dec. 16, 2014
MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP) — Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale scored to help Real Madrid coast past Mexico's Cruz Azul 4-0 Tuesday night for a place in this weekend's Club World Cup final against Argentina's San Lorenzo or New Zealand's Auckland City.
Sergio Ramos scored in the 15th minute and Benzema in the 36th. Bale added a goal in the 50th and Francisco "Isco" Alarcon in the 72nd for Madrid, which has won 21 consecutive games since a 2-1 defeat to crosstown rival Atletico in a Spanish league match on Sept. 13.
San Lorenzo, South America's Copa Libertadores winner, plays Wednesday against Auckland City, a team of amateurs and semi-pros that won Oceania's title. The final is Saturday.
Cruz Azul, the champion of North and Central America and the Caribbean, proved no match for the pace and penetration that Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale provided for European champion Madrid, which is seeking its first Club World Cup title.
Madrid's Iker Casillas saved a first-half penalty kick from Cruz Azul captain Gerardo Torrado.
"Only a match away from a new opportunity. We'll be ready 100 percent," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "I think the team deserves this title."
Ronaldo did not add to his total of 56 goals in 2014 for Madrid, including 32 this season. The match was so comfortable for Madrid that its star player allowed himself a showboat second-half shot so cheeky that Ancelotti's assistants were laughing behind him on the bench.
Ronaldo tried flicking in Bale's cross from the left by wrapping his right foot around his left ankle to connect with the ball. Goalkeeper Jose Corona easily scooped up the attempt that would have been another fine addition to Ronaldo's highlight reel had it gone in.
"I've never seen a shot like this, but from Ronaldo we have to expect everything," Ancelotti said.
Conceding that Madrid was "highly superior," Cruz Azul manager Luis Fernando Tena had no complaints.
"It's been a joy to play such a skillful team, individually and collectively," he said.