By 90Min
December 21, 2018

Real Madrid face Al Ain in the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup Final, looking to complete a hat-trick of consecutive victories in the competition - following on from their hat-trick of UEFA Champions League successes. 

The final will be hosted at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and Madrid will face unfamiliar opponents in Al Ain. The UAE champions shocked River Plate to progress into the finals and will surely be relishing the opportunity to play against Los Blancos. 

Los Blancos have strung together four wins in their last five, although despite tasting victory, haven't been totally convincing in the process. In order to reach the final, Madrid had to beat Japanese side Kashima Antlers - which they did, 3-1, thanks to a Gareth Bale hat-trick. 

Al Ali are unbeaten in their last three en-route to the final, however, they have required two penalty shootouts and with luck seemingly on their side, they may fancy their chances here... 

Check out 90min's preview of the game below.


Where to Watch


When Is Kick Off? Saturday 22nd December
What time is Kick Off? 16.30 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Zayed Sports City Stadium
TV Channel / Live Stream None
Referee? Jair Marrufo

Team News

Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari has no fresh injury concerns from the team that started or indeed finished in the 3-1 victory over Kashima Antlers. Solari brought both Marco Asensio and Isco on, however it is likely that he will continue with Lucas Vazquez and Bale alongside Karim Benzema.

Casemiro returned from his ankle injury against Kashima Antlers and it is possible he could replace Marcos Llorente in midfield from the start.

Etsuo Hara/GettyImages

Zoran Mamic is also understood to have no fresh injury concerns, however fatigue could play a part after facing two penalty shootouts en-route to the final.

Real Madrid should be wary of in-form striker Marcus Berg, who has scored 44 goals in 45 games for Al Ain, and he is expected to start in the final third alongside Caio and Hussein El Shahat.


Predicted Lineups

Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Vazquez.
Al Ain Essa; Shiotani, Fayez, Ismail, Ahmad; Abdulrahman, Barman, Doumbia; El Shahat, Berg, Caio

Recent Form

Real Madrid have seen a resurgence in their results in recent times. Despite a disappointing home collapse to CSKA Moscow, in which Los Blancos lost 3-0, they have won four of their last five. 

However, any Madrid fan will tell you that the side is still not performing well, despite the upturn in results and Al Ain could look to test this on Saturday.
Real Madrid CF v Levante UD - La Liga

Al Ain are currently third in the Arabian Gulf League, with nine wins from 12, one draw and just two defeats. Besides the 2-2 draw with River Plate, Al Ain have scored three goals in each of their last four matches, with striker Berg in free scoring form. 

Here's a look at each sides last five results.

Real Madrid Al Ain
Kashima Antlers 1-3 Real Madrid 19/12 River Plate 2-2 Al Ain 18/12
Real Madrid 1-0 Rayo Vallecano 15/12 Es Tunis 0-3 Al Ain 15/12
Real Madrid 0-3 CSKA Moscow (12/12) Al Ain 3-3 Team Wellington 12/12
SD Huesca 0-1 Real Madrid (9/12) Al Ain 3-5 Al Wasl 07/12
Real Madrid 6-1 Melilla (6/12) Al Wasl 1-3 Al Ain 03/12

Prediction

Real Madrid will be looking to make their mark here and will certainly be aiming for a third consecutive Fifa Club World Cup. However, Madrid know they will be expected to win, and some pressure may weigh on the shoulders of the players.

Al Ain were impressive in the semi-final, and many were surprised at their triumph, as they came through victors in the penalty shootout against River Plate. They will be full of confidence and enthusiasm for this game but it is expected that Los Blancos will have too much quality for their UAE counterparts. 


Prediction: Real Madrid 3-1 Al Ain

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