Real Madrid claim FIFA Club World Cup title with win over San Lorenzo

Real Madrid completed its glittering year with yet another title after a comfortable 2-0 victory over San Lorenzo in the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday.

The European champions conquered this tournament for the first time with a professional and ruthless display in Marrakech. Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale scored either side of halftime to confirm Madrid’s evident superiority in this competition and draw this competition to its expected and inevitable conclusion.

San Lorenzo huffed, puffed and scythed in its bid to break up the affair and establish a resolute and utterly defiant core, but its efforts ultimately fell well short on the day. Madrid muddled through the ragged early stages and eventually sauntered to victory once Ramos’ resounding header secured the lead before the break. Bale’s second early in the second half confirmed the result.

Madrid deserved its 22nd victory in a row after exerting its dominance for most of the game and revealing its quality at the proper times. The triumph capped this successful sojourn and underscored the glaring gulf between the champions and the rest of the field.

San Lorenzo accepted Madrid’s expected superiority from the outset and adopted a defiant approach to thwart it. The South American champions clipped and nicked the opposition during a rugged opening quarter of an hour and entrenched themselves deeply inside their own half.

The decision to drop numbers behind the ball worked for much of the opening half. Madrid nearly struck inside the opening two minutes, but Karim Benzema saw his attempt to apply the final touch thwarted by the worn surface in Marrakech. The early reprieve allowed San Lorenzo to focus on disruption and piled the pressure on Madrid to translate its possession into gilt-edged chances.

It took longer than anticipated for Madrid to engineer the breakthrough. The dearth of rhythm in the game and the compact San Lorenzo shape made it onerous for Madrid, but the persistence – plus the repeated opportunities afforded by San Lorenzo’s inability to push out for any lengthy of time – ultimate reaped the expected dividends eight minutes before halftime.

HEAR US OUT

Once again, the sharpness from dead ball situations ultimately provided the telling blow. Kroos delivered another tempting ball toward the top of the goal area. Ramos made a clever inside-out run to catch out veteran defender Mario Yepes and create a lane to pursue behind him. The extra step proved more than enough as Ramos glided into the space afforded and thumped home a header for the second time in as many games to break the deadlock.

San Lorenzo buckled down in a bid to reassess matters during the interval, but Madrid snatched a second early in the second half to render those efforts essentially moot.

Madrid once again exploited a lack of awareness in the San Lorenzo defense and a glaring error to place the outcome of the game beyond. Kroos and Isco combined in the attacking half to provide Isco with a chance to play a cutting vertical ball to Bale on the right side of the penalty area. Bale collected in space with the San Lorenzo line in tatters and slid his shot toward goal. Sebastian Torrico somehow allowed the straightforward effort to slip under his body to give Madrid a soft second goal.

Bale’s intervention essentially forced San Lorenzo to abandon its recalcitrant ways and commit more numbers forward in a bid to close the deficit. Veteran schemer Leandro Romagnoli climbed off the bench to bolster those efforts, while Madrid attempted to use resulting space to claim a third on the break.

Enzo Kalinski nearly engineered an immediate response to Bale’s goal when he fired his half-volley over the bar. Kalinski and Juan Ignacio Mercier subsequently forced Iker Casillas to save their attempts from distance in the final 10 minutes.

Lineups

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas; Marcelo (Fabio Coentrao, 44), Pepe, Sergio Ramos (Raphael Varane, 89); Daniel Carvajal (Alvaro Arbeloa, 73), Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Francisco ”Isco” Alarcon; Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema.

San Lorenzo: Sebastian Torrico; Mario Yepes (Mauro Cetto, 61), Walter Kannemann, Emmanuel Mas; Juan Mercier, Julio Buffarini, Enzo Kalinski, Pablo Barrientos, Nestor Ortigoza; Martin Cauteruccio (Mauro Mattos, 68), Gonzalo Veron (Leandro Romangnoli, 57)