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18th Dec 2016

Real Madrid forced into extra time by Japanese minnows Kashima Antlers in Club World Cup final

This wasn't in the script

Simon Lloyd

Real Madrid are the new Club World Cup winners, having beaten Kashima Antlers 4-2 in Yokohama.

While there was an inevitability about the result, the manner by which the 11-time European champions achieved it was a little surprising, especially after taking the lead through Karim Benzema in the ninth minute.

Real Madrid v Kashima Antlers- FIFA Club World Cup Final

The Japanese side responded with two goals from Gaku Shibasaki either side of half-time stunning those that expected the match to be a whitewash for Zinedine Zidane’s men.

Not for the first time in the last few years, up stepped Cristiano Ronaldo to save the day, levelling things from the penalty spot with an hour to go.

Real Madrid v Kashima Antlers- FIFA Club World Cup Final

But whereas many might have expected Real to go on to get the job done in what remained of normal time, it was Kashima who had the better chances . Keylor Navas forced to save a long-range effort from Fabricio and Yasushi Endo fired wide at the back post with the last chance of the 90 minutes.

In extra time, Ronaldo added two more goals to seal his hat-trick and victory for the Spanish side, but things were far from comfortable for him and his teammates. Having gone 3-2 up, Yuma Suzuki struck their crossbar with a header and many felt Sergio Ramos should’ve been sent off.

Already on a yellow, the referee chose to ignore the video replays that have been used in the tournament when the defender body-checked an opponent.

Fittingly though, this game was all about Ronaldo. In a year where he’s scored the winning penalty in the Champions League final, won the European Championships with Portugal and been crowned the Ballon d’Or winner for the fourth time, he rounded off 2016 by becoming the first man to score a hat-trick in a World Club Cup final.

Not bad going.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live: