TOPS/FLOPS – Benzema and Vinicius at the rendezvous, the double of Valverde or the defensive shortcomings of Real: find our tops and our flops of the final of the Club World Cup between Real Madrid and Al-Hilal.
Benzema and Vinicius en plein gala
Injured for two matches, Karim Benzema has made a successful return to the pitch with the captain’s armband. The French striker distilled a nice decisive pass to open the scoring for Vinicius (13th, 1-0). Also at the conclusion of the 3rd goal (54th, 3-1), Benzema, more generally, gave meaning to the Madrid game, as he often does, by his stalls and his technical accuracy.
He sometimes leaned to the left, where his relationship with Vinicius had been missed by Real lovers. The Brazilian returned the favor to the Frenchman with a superb cross from the outside of the right foot for the famous 3rd goal. Author of a double with a curled strike right foot (69th, 5-2) before brushing the hat-trick (70th). A poison from start to finish, voted best player of this Club World Cup.
Valverde, the inevitable
He has played 32 of Real Madrid’s 33 matches this season. He is the lung of Carlo Ancelotti’s team, and sometimes the engine of the attack on the right side. In Rabat, Federico Valverde scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season to keep his team on track. A right foot volley into the box to break (18′, 2-0) and a double one-two with Dani Carvajal for a double (58′, 4-1). Could have, or even should have benefited from two assists if Benzema (41st) and Rodrygo (90th) had been more lucid.
Al-Hilal to anime the finale
The Riyadh club can leave Morocco with their heads held high. Al-Hilal quickly showed a desire to raise short, without being intimidated by Madrid’s pressing. Admittedly, Real, with more realism, would have killed the match much earlier. But Marega’s determination, Abdulhamid’s energy and Michael’s whirling entry offered genuine resistance. A triple Saudi opportunity (81st) almost brought the score to 5-4, and thus sowed discord in the White House. It did not happen.
Camavinga costs a goal
It is not this match that will call into question the previous ones, where Eduardo Camavinga proved worthy of a holder at Real Madrid in an astonishing left-back position, in the absence of Ferland Mendy. But the Club World Cup final didn’t go that way. The French international sometimes drew without the ball, like a large bridge that Abdulhamid made him undergo before procrastinating in the area (53rd). Above all, Camavinga lost a ball in front of his area which led to Al-Hilal’s third goal (79th, 5-3). Without consequence, fortunately for the former Rennais.
Feverish Real defense
Carlo Ancelotti needed a moment before smiling after the final whistle. His Real Madrid was not imperial, far from it. Moussa Marega punished a bad offside trap on a counterattack (26th, 2-1). Abdulhamid took advantage of the spaces on the right side, as when he sent Luciano Vietto deep for a second goal (4-2, 64th). Antonio Rüdiger and David Alaba seemed to suffer from defending high on many streaks. These are shortcomings to be corrected for the knockout stages of the Champions League against Liverpool on February 21.