Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score a Club World Cup final hat-trick in Real Madrid’s 4-2 extra-time victory over Kashima Antlers on Sunday.
Real, who won the tournament for the second time in three years, appeared set for an easy victory when Karim Benzema gave them a ninth-minute lead. The French forward scored easily by tapping-in a rebound from Luka Modric’s volley, which had been parried by Hitoshi Sogahata.
But as Los Blancos appeared to settle themsevles with the early lead, Gaku Shibasaki changed the story by levelling one minute before half-time. Shoma Doi’s cross found Shibasaki, whose first touch was poor – he was gifted a second attempt when Raphael Varane failed to clear, and without further errors he smashed the ball into the net.
Real was further dazed as Kashima, the first Asian team to reach the tournament final, took a shock lead in the second half.
It was Shibasaki who struck again for the Japanese champions six minutes after the break when he collected a poor Real clearance, got away from three opponents and fired a low shot past Keylor Navas from 25 yards.
Madrid looked like they could be heading for a shock defeat until Ronaldo drilled home from the penalty spot to make it 2-2 on the hour, forcing extra time.
Kashima continued to give as good as they got and had three good chances in the final minutes of normal time. Fabricio’s goalbound drive was tipped over by Navas and the Costa Rica goalkeeper came to the rescue again one minute later by blocking Mu Kanazaki’s shot after he got free of the Real defence.
Yasushi Endo could have won it with the last kick but fired wide at the far post while Real captain Sergio Ramos was lucky to escape a second yellow card for a push.
Ronaldo then ended Kashima’s dream when he collected Benzema’s sliderule pass and fired past Sogahata seven minutes into extra-time, then settled the match six minutes later with an emphatic finish into the roof of the net for his hat-trick.