Real Madrid Win Third Straight Club World Cup Title

Real Madrid’s players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FIFA Club World Cup by defeating Al Ain at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi… on December 22, 2018.
Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Real Madrid eased to a third straight Club World Cup title as Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos scored in a 4-1 final victory over home team Al Ain in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

The European champions have struggled at times this season but had little trouble in brushing aside Al Ain, whose surprise run to the final included a comeback from 3-0 down against Team Wellington and a shock last-four win over River Plate.

The Spanish giants have now won a record four Club World Cup titles, pulling one clear of arch-rivals Barcelona, who were in La Liga action on Saturday.

“These players deserve it. They’re here after working very hard and winning many trophies,” said Real coach Santiago Solari.

“Today they added a finishing touch with the third consecutive Club World Cup, which I think is a great feat for the club, of course for Real Madrid and this group of players in particular.”

Solari, who has had to deal with rumours surrounding his future after former Los Blancos coach Jose Mourinho’s sacking by Manchester United earlier this week, named a strong side including Modric, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale.

Ballon d’Or winner Modric gave Real a 14th-minute lead, and Marcos Llorente’s fantastic volley doubled the lead on the hour mark before Sergio Ramos’ late third and Tsukasa Shiotani’s consolation.

Defender Sergio Ramos (number 4) scores Real Madrid’s third goal. Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

 

Yahia Nader put through his own net in injury time as Real comfortably claimed their 11th win in 13 games and a first trophy since Solari took over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui in October.

“This is what we expected from ourselves, what we have been working on every week,” said Llorente after scoring his first goal for the club. “It’s my first for the senior team, and what could be better than in this final.”

Al Ain start brightly

Al Ain started brightly and came close to taking a shock lead when Sweden international striker Marcus Berg could only prod the ball into the gloves of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

But Real did not wait long to make Berg pay, as Karim Benzema teed up Modric, who took a touch before curling a fine left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

Benzema went close with a blocked effort, before also firing over the bar.

A second goal always looked likely to arrive sooner rather than later, with Modric denied by an excellent save from Al Ain ‘keeper Khalid Eisa.

But the Emiratis hung on and could have levelled when Rayan Yaslam Mohamad Al Jaberi could only slice a shot out of play for a throw-in.

Real doubled their lead, though, as 23-year-old midfielder Llorente met a looping clearance to drill home a wonderful volley from just outside the area.

The game was all over as a contest in the 79th minute when Ramos climbed above the Al Ain defence to power a trademark header into the net from Modric’s corner.

Japanese midfielder Shiotani glanced in a Caio free-kick to grab Al Ain an 86th-minute consolation, but Nader deflected Junior Vinicius’ effort past Eisa in the first minute of added time.

AFP

West Ham Sign Emmanuel Emenike On Loan

emenike_clubNigerian international, Emmanuel Emenike, has expressed delight to join English Premier League side, West Ham United on loan.

The 28-year-old is confident he will have an instant impact for Slaven Bilic’s squad, having known the manager from his spells coaching in Russia and Turkey.

Emenike, was capped 37 times by Nigeria and spent part of this season on loan at the Arabian Gulf League side, al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

The Hammers have the option to make the transfer permanent in the summer and the forward would provide options for Bilic with Andy Carroll side-lined again by injury.

Dubai club sacks Maradona

Former Argentina’s World Cup winning captain, Diego Maradona has been sacked from his role as manager of United Arab Emirates, side Al Wasl after 14 months in charge.

The legendary Argentinian’s position had been in doubt since June when the club’s entire board resigned following a trophy less season.

Maradona, 51, joined Al Wasl in May 2011 and still had a year to run on his contract.

He leaves after a disappointing league campaign which saw Al Wasl finish eight  in the league.

“Following a meeting held by the board of directors of Al Wasl football company held to evaluate the technical staff of Al Wasl under the leadership of coach Diego Maradona, it was decided to terminate the services of coach Diego Maradona and his technical staff,” read a statement from the club.

Maradona, a World Cup winner with Argentina in 1986, made headlines in March this year when he acted in a similar manner to Eric Cantona’s famous attack on opposition fans.

During Al Wasl’s 2-0 UAE Pro League defeat at Al Shabab, he is understood to have climbed up into the stands to protect his wife after fans allegedly started abusing players’ wives and girlfriends.

Maradona had been brought in to help boost Al Wasl’s profile, both on and off the pitch, yet they finished 29 points behind champions Al Ain.

 

Presenting new UAE goal king; Asamoah Gyan

channels_television_asamoah_gyanHis UAE club Al Ain walloped Baniyas 3-0 as he scored a brace in the game on Friday,  he is now the top scorer of the UAE league, we present to you one of the best players in the world of football presently making Africa proud,  Asamoah Gyan.

Asamoah Gyan has so far scored 15 goals in the league making him the top scorer of the league although he was yellow carded over a squabble with Mohammed Jaber who plays for Baniyas as he couldn’t hide his nervousness and frustration which he said was necessary as it is part of the game of football.

Gyan was simply unstoppable in the game which took place at the Tahoon Bin Mohammed Stadium as Al Ain got ahead with his goal before recess and another some minutes after recess and the sealer for Al Ain which was also from his control of a long ball on the bounce and swerving an opponent to score in the 84th minute.

Gyan who is presently on loan from English club Sunderland said he has his striking partner Yasser Al Qahtani to thank as he has made his success at the club possible as he hailed the Saudi striker.

Al Ain is in contention for the title a 10th time and as it is according the coach they are on their way to clinching the title thanks to Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan.