Hat-trick hero Bale fires Real Madrid into Club World Cup final

Sherman Parsons
December 20, 2018

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring one of his three goals.

Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Benzema all threatened Kwoun Sun-tae's goal before Bale brought some quality to proceedings with a well-placed finish following a neat one-two with Marcelo on the edge of the Kashima penalty area.

Madrid started slowly and might have been behind before Bale slotted expertly home for 1-0 just before half-time.

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made two hard saves with the game at 0-0, and Japanese side Kashima got one back late on when slack defending allowed centre-forward Shoma Doi in for a consolation goal.

The Wales global was asked on Spanish TV station Teledeporte after the final whistle if the hat trick was an answer to those who said he must take more responsibility at Madrid this season.

Madrid, who have won the last two Club World Cups, are now going for their third in a row on Saturday.

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With the hat-trick, Bale becomes only the third player to score in three different editions of the Club World Cup, joining Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo in the small, elite group.

"I have the maximum admiration and respect for all my fellow coaches, especially those who have been at this club and given us joy", Solari said.

The hat-trick was enough to secure Madrid's place in the final against Al Ain, which will take place on Satuday, and brings his tally to 10 goals in 21 games across all competitions this season.

Solari was asked about the speculation linking Mourinho to his jobm but the Argentine was noncommittal in his response.

He added: "It's great to score, but the most important thing is to help the team and reach the final".

"I feel the same as when I arrived here to work as a youth coach, and further back as a player", he said.

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