Real Madrid booked a place in the Club World Cup final with a 4-0 dismantling of Cruz Azul, who will have to content themselves with contesting the tournament’s third-place match.
Madrid was on the front foot from the beginning, with Jesús Corona forced into a point-blank save of a Cristiano Ronaldo shot in just the third minute. The UEFA champions kept pressing, and they got their reward in the 15th minute, when Corona came off his line on a set piece and was beaten to the ball by Sergio Ramos. The defender’s header found the back of the net to open the scoring and give Madrid the 1-0 lead.
Twenty minutes later, Karim Benzema got around Gerardo Flores in the box and shot through Corona’s legs to make it 2-0 for the Spaniards. Cruz Azul was floundering, but La Máquina was given a golden chance to reduce the deficit in the 40th minute.
Sergio Ramos took down Mariano Pavone in the box and referee Enrique Osses pointed to the penalty spot. Gerardo Torrado converted two penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round against Western Sydney Wanderers, but the third time was not the charm. Torrado’s spot kick was easily parried by Iker Casillas.
Two minutes later, Pavone found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the striker took too long to make a decision and Casillas was able to take the ball off his feet. With that, Madrid took the 2-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, Madrid continued from where they had left off. In the 50th minute, Gareth Bale made it 3-0 when he headed home a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo himself could have made it 4-0 minutes later, but the striker went for the trick shot – a rabona – and Corona was able to make the save.
Luis Fernando Tena turned to his bench, inserting Marco Fabián and Pablo Barrera in the 64th minute, and it very nearly paid off. Moments after entering the game, Barrera hit the post with a long-range shot that had Casillas beaten.
Unfortunately for La Máquina, that was about as close as they would get. Madrid continued to dominate the game and Isco put the icing on the cake with his 72nd minute goal.
With the 4-0 win, Real Madrid advances to the final, where they will face the winner of the San Lorenzo/Auckland game on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Cruz Azul will face the loser of that semifinal in the third-place match. Both games will be played on Saturday, December 20.
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Julio César Domínguez, Gerardo Flores, Francisco Rodríguez, Fausto Pinto, Hernán Bernardello, Christian Giménez (Marco Fabián 64′), Joao Rojas (Ismael Valadéz 76′), Gerardo Torrado, Mauro Formica, Mariano Pavone (Pablo Barrera 64′).
Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Marcelo Vieira, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Danny Carvajal, Francisco Alarcón (Jese Rodríguez 76′), Asier Illarramendi, Toni Kroos (Sami Khedira 72′), Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.