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. Madrid looked like they could be heading for a shock defeat until Ronaldo drilled home from the penalty spot to make it 2-2, forcing an additional 30 minutes to be played.
The 31-year-old put Zinedine Zidane’s side in front with a left-footed finish after being released by Karim Benzema – whose opener had earlier been overturned by Gaku Shibasaki’s double – in the 98th minute.
Ronaldo completed his hat-trick when he fired into the roof of the net after Toni Kroos’ scuffed attempt fell at his feet, making him the joint-highest scorer in the competition’s history with five goals.
The victory extended Real’s club-record unbeaten run to 37 matches in all competitions, while French coach Zinedine Zidane surpassed Fabio Capello’s record for their best start to a season.
The European champions, yet to be defeated in 26 games this campaign, were forced to dig deep by an Antlers side that finished a distant third over the J-League season before winning the championship final.
Benzema’s close-range opener was cancelled out on the stroke of halftime by Shibasaki, who took advantage of some calamitous defending from Raphael Varane to score with a sharp volley.
The Japan midfielder then sparked wild celebrations among a crowd of 68,000 seven minutes after the break when he smashed home a left-foot shot from a distance.
Kashima’s lead was short-lived, however, as Ronaldo restored parity from the spot after Lucas Vazquez was clattered by Shuto Yamamoto.
Ronaldo, who scooped his fourth Ballon d’Or last week, put Real back in front with a clinical low finish eight minutes into extra time after a deft pass from Benzema.
And the Portuguese superstar completed his hat-trick — the first in a Club World Cup final — six minutes later with another poacher’s strike to break Japanese hearts.
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