Real Madrid 5-3 Al Hilal: Vinicius Junior double sets up Club World Cup final joy

By Sports Desk February 11, 2023

Vinicius Junior scored twice as Real Madrid won the Club World Cup for a fifth time by beating Al Hilal 5-3 in Saturday's chaotic final.

The Brazilian winger, who has faced appalling racist abuse in Spain this season, let his football do the talking in Rabat as Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid lifted the trophy.

Federico Valverde also hit a double and there was a welcome goal for Karim Benzema on his return from a minor injury, with Madrid never seriously troubled by the champions of Saudi Arabia.

Al Hilal beat Flamengo in the semi-finals, but taking down the UEFA Champions League holders was a step too far, although they rattled Madrid at times.

Vinicius put Madrid ahead in the 13th minute when Benzema played him through to the left of goal. The Brazilian's right-footed strike was not the most convincing of finishes but sneaked through the defences of goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf.

Argentinian Luciano Vietto almost levelled barely a minute later when his low strike from 20 yards went inches wide of the left post. Yet Madrid moved 2-0 up in the 18th minute after a soft goal for Al Hilal to concede.

Luka Modric's whipped cross from the right was too hot for Al Muaiouf, with the ball bouncing out to Valverde whose 15-yard skidding volley went through defender Ali Al Bulayhi and the goalkeeper. Al Muaiouf did better moments later when repelling a strike by Benzema.

Any thought Los Blancos might be on easy street evaporated when Moussa Marega dashed through to fire past Andriy Lunin in the 26th minute, with Benzema missing a good chance late in the half to restore the two-goal cushion.

Benzema made no such mistake in the 54th minute, meeting a cross from Vinicius on the left with a powerful close-range finish. The ball from Vinicius, struck with the outside of his right boot, was read perfectly by Benzema whose sharp movement left three markers standing.

Dani Carvajal and Valverde combined expertly down the Madrid right in the 58th minute, working a path into the Al Hilal penalty area, with Valverde clipping in his second goal of the game.

Five minutes later, Antonio Rudiger was caught asleep on the job as Vietto sprinted behind him before chipping past Lunin to cut Madrid's lead to 4-2, but Vinicius soon restored the three-goal cushion with a sweeping finish into the right corner.

Vietto scored again in the 79th minute, but Madrid avoided any more costly defensive wobbles to get their hands on the trophy.

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