Gareth Bale hat-trick fires Real Madrid into Club World Cup Final

Real Madrid reached another Club World Cup Final as Gareth Bale’s hat-trick defeated Kashima Antlers 3-1 on Wednesday.

See how the action unfolded in Abu Dhabi with our liveblog!

Bale took just 11 minutes to hit his first treble since January 2016, although the VAR prevented Madrid from keeping a clean sheet.

The Welshman recovered from an ankle problem to join Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez up top, while Casemiro was back among the substitutes after a month out and Thibaut Courtois was picked ahead of Keylor Navas in goal.

Los Blancos beat Kashima 4-2 after extra time to lift the 2016 Club World Cup, while the winner at the Zayed Sports City Stadium would face Emirati champions Al-Ain, who stunned River Plate on penalties.

Two early chances fell to Kashima’s Serginho, whose angled drive was tipped around the post by Thibaut Courtois, before the Brazilian flicked the subsequent corner inches wide.

The Belgian then rushed from his goal to block a one-on-one, yet that was the cue for a prolonged period of Madrid domination as Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema headed wide.

Just a minute before the break, Bale played a quick one-two with Marcelo, which released him in behind, and slotted a finish in off the post.

Moments later Karim Benzema had a shot cleared off the line, but Bale quickly pounced on an awful backpass to round the Kashima goalkeeper, before rifling home another Marcelo assist from close range.

Vazquez was replaced by Isco after he wasted a one-on-one with Kwoun Sun-tae between the Antlers’ sticks, but Casemiro’s comeback was overshadowed by Marco Asensio going off with a thigh problem.

VAR was then needed to confirm Marcelo was onside when a square ball went into the box, which Doi finished off, and that was followed by Benzema agonisingly blasting a shot the wrong side of Sun-tae’s far post.

Kashima Antlers 1-3 Real Madrid

Doi 78 (KA) Bale 44, 53, 55 (RM)

Kashima Antlers: Sun-tae; Nishi (Anzai 56), Seung-yhun, Shoji, Yamamoto; Endo (Leandro 83), Nagaki (Uchida 46), Leo Silva, Abe; Doi, Serginho

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Llorente, Kroos; Vazquez (Isco 68), Benzema, Bale (Asensio 60, Casemiro 74)

Referee: Pereira Sampaio (BRA)

Tags Club World Cup Kashima Antlers