Real Madrid rallied from a goal down to register a hard fought 2-1 victory over hosts Al Jazira to set-up a title clash with Brazil’s Gremio in the Club World Cup on Saturday. Half-Time 1-0.
Christiano Ronaldo and substitute Gareth Bale scored a goal apiece after Brazilian striker Romarinho had put host in the lead in the first half.
Lot of credit should go to Al Jazira’s skipper and goalkeeper Ali Khaseif, he made seven stunning saves and maintaining a clean sheet till the time he was on the pitch.
Al Jazira will be now playing a third place match against Mexican outfits Pachuca on Saturday.
GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL....The Spanish giants are leading 2-1..Bale makes his presence felt straight away.. Another substitution for Real ..Benzema makes way for another big wig Gareth Bale
That was a fine pass from Modric to find Ronaldo inside the box, but Al Jazira will be hugely disappointed by their defending. And we all know what Ronaldo can do when in the penalty area...way too easy for him...
It will be interesting to see if Khaled Al Senaani can show the same class as Khaseif under the bar..
He blocks a full-blooded effort from Benzema...so far so good...Entire UAE will be keeping their fingers-crossed.
53rd minute.. Kasheif is struggling and he is out and immediately Real capitalize...the scores are level...Ronaldo it is. 1-1
48' Al Jazira made it 2-0, but it's ruled out for offside! Mabkhout to burst into the box before finding Boussoufa for the simplest of tap ins. Crazy SCENCES, but the referee is quick to rule out to the goal for offside.
Romarinho had said "I would be happy if I can win some award from this tournament"...Looks like is in line for something...two goal and an assist so far in three outings...He is the only player from Al Jazira who has won the Club World Cup with Corinthians in 2012. That experience clearly showing here.
Hopefully the Brazilian can show some more magic in the second half....Don't go away...live action starts
Jazira lead 1-0 at half-time
Romarinho has done it...Jazira lead 1-0 at half-time. They have weathered the barrage of Real RAIDS. Tremendous performance from Al Jazira here. Especially their skipper and goalkeeper Kasheif...He has been rock solid under the bar. In all Seven saves...simply exceptional.
Madrid would be frustrated here. Goal they score was OVERRULED after referee consults with the VAR and eventually comes to the decision that Benzema was in an offside position. "You can expect a national holiday if we win"...says one of our readers. Stay put...We will be bringing you another absorbing 45 minutes action.
41 minutes: WOW! Gooooooooooooooaaaaaallllllll. Al Jazira leads 1-0.....It's the man from the land of samba Romarinho.
Al Jazira's Romarinho, second from left, celebrates with his teammates after scoring the opening goal. (AP)
Real Madrid scores through Casemiro...but turned down after review..STILL 0-0 after 30 minutes.
Real Madrid’s Casemiro scores a goal that was disallowed. (Reuters)
20minute: Al Jazira misses a huge opportunity to score on the counter. Ali Makbout made a good run to reach to Mbark Boussoufa cross but ended up shooting it just wide.
Superb from Khaseif once again! The goalkeeper has clearly kept Jazira in the match. A decent cross from the right flank finds Benzema, who forces Khaseif to make another great save.
12th minute: Ronaldo effort again blocked by Khaseif...The goalkeeper somehow hold his nerve to make some exceptional saves.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo misses a chance to score (Reuters)
Straight away Cristiano Ronaldo is at it.. A power-packed volley but it lacked direction.
Real playing in Black and Green...while Jazira in all white...Match starts.
Listen to Roooooooooar...it can't get bigger than this for local fans...the players have taken the field.
Buckle up guys for some live action...It's Spanish giants Real Madrid vs The Pride of Abu Dhabi - Al Jazira. Kick-off in 10 minutes.
It's not going to be easy for Al Jazira. Henk Ten Cate boys will have to play out of their skin. Zinedine Zidane has named a strong Real squad.
Fever pitch on and off the field as Real Madrid get rolling
After six long months, the waiting is over.
Probably the most interesting character we've spoken to tonight, this fan has come all the way from #Kampala #Uganda for #RealMadrid #AlJazira #ClubWC pic.twitter.com/tgGyyOkFiu— Gulf News Sport (@GulfNewsSport) December 13, 2017
ND Prashant has spoken to #AlJazira fans outside stadium, big predictions from these gents ahead of #RealMadrid semi #ClubWC pic.twitter.com/mQuALdrQDo— Gulf News Sport (@GulfNewsSport) December 13, 2017
BeIN Sports will start telecasting the match live at 9pm UAE time.
Real Madrid booked their ticket for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi way back on June 3 when they won the Uefa Champions League final 4-1 over Juventus in Cardiff.
That’s when the first rumbles of excitement began in the UAE capital.
Zidane, Ramos, Benzema, Bale, Modric … Ronaldo.
Few tickets worth Dh 1000 for today's semis still left.
In the flesh.
It is enough to give you goose bumps.
It was eight years ago that UAE football fans packed out Zayed Sports City Stadium to watch Barcelona’s Lionel Messi score an extra-time winner against Argentine club Estudiantes to lift the Club World Cup trophy.
Now that other still-active contender for the GOAT (Greatest of all Time) title, Cristiano Ronaldo, is finally here to show us why he just picked up his fifth Ballon d’Or to join Messi as the joint-top winner of the accolade to recognise the world’s best footballer.
If the fans have reached fever pitch at the thought of seeing Zinedine Zidane’s ‘Galacticos’ playing their first match of the tournament tonight at Zayed Sports City, just think about what will be going through the minds of Henk Ten Cate and his Al Jazira players.
Maybe something like: “This is the chance of a lifetime.” Or maybe: “I can show the world what I can do.”
Then again, maybe it’s more like: “Um, we’re not even supposed to be here. How on earth are we meant to stop them?”
The Arabian Gulf League champions reached the biggest and most unlikely game in UAE club football by beating Auckland City and Urawa Red Diamonds en route to the semi-finals and their reward is a showdown with the European and world club champs.
Back in October, Al Jazira’s Ten Cate said competing in the Club World Cup was bigger than winning the Arabian Gulf League title. To be here tonight and playing Real must be beyond his wildest dreams as a manager.
But for the fans – not just of Real, but of football (and celeb-spotting) – this is an opportunity to get up close with these superstars on our own doorstep.
If you are lucky enough to have a ticket for tonight, make sure you charge your phone. It might be another eight years before you get a chance to see the likes of Ronaldo strut their stuff in a competitive environment on these shores again.