Santiago Solari keeping Real Madrid feet on the ground for Al-Ain Club World final

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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale scores their third goal to complete his hat-trick against Kashima Antlers. (Reuters)
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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale celebrates scoring a goal against Kashima Antlers. (Reuters)
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Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (L) celebrates his goal with teammates during the semi final football match of the FIFA Club World Cup. (AFP)
Updated 20 December 2018
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Santiago Solari keeping Real Madrid feet on the ground for Al-Ain Club World final

ABU DHABI: Having seen his team cruise past Kashima Antlers on Wednesday to reach the Club World Cup final, Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari is determined to keep his players’ feet firmly on the ground ahead of tomorrow’s final with the UAE club Al-Ain.
Gareth Bales’ 11-minute hat-trick was enough to see off Kashima Antlers of Japan in Abu Dhabi, with Los Blancos making much easier work of the Asian champions than in their encounter with the Japanese team in 2016’s final.
“All the players were focussed and we will need to do it again (in the final),” the Argentine said after the match.
“We don’t have a lot of time, less than our rivals do in fact. We will have to look at the basic aspects of (Al-Ain’s) game and pick up our energy levels.
“In the Club World Cup, you cannot dwell on surprises. We went into this game with our heads screwed on we will need do it all over again.
“It is difficult to qualify for this tournament, we are taking it seriously,” he added.
“I am not worried about Al-Ain, but I expect good competition from them.
“They were able to beat the club from New Zealand and River Plate, and now they are in the final. We will have to be as competitive as today to win the trophy.
“At this level there are no bad or regular teams, all the teams are good and excellent.”
Welshman Bale scored his first goal against Kashima just before the half-time break, and he added two more quickly after the interval to put the game beyond the Japanese.
And Solari was gushing about his midfielder’s performance on the night.
“He blew everything out of the water — the lights, the nets, the stands.
“He had a spellbinding match, and showed who he is and what he is capable of. We are thrilled for him and now he needs to rest up and do it all again in the next match.
“Gareth gave his best, but has already given joy to Real Madrid fans. He has done it with his goals, which is what wins you football matches.
“Goals dominate football and Gareth knows how to score them. We hope he can continue to do it in every game, it is hard for him to score three goals each game, but he always gives his all.”
Solari also reserved praise for Brazilian defender Marcelo after the game, who he said did a “superb job” bombing forward on the left-hand side.
“It’s bound to have been an irregular season with all the injuries. He needs a bit of continuity to play his way back into form.
“I don’t think this is the best we’ve seen from Marcelo, he played very well, but I hope he’s even better in the final. He’s a wonderful player and he has to keep pushing himself, both going forward and in defense, and I’ll make sure he does.
There is one injury worry for Madrid in tomorrow’s game — Marco Asensio, who came on to replace Bale but 15 minutes after doing so, was back on the sidelines once more after picking up an injury.
Asensio picked up another strain to the same area that he hurt against Rayo Vallecano and quickly asked to be replaced in order to avoid causing further damage
“These things happen. There was nothing wrong with him, he came on and played until he couldn’t go on. We’ll look at what he’s got and hope it’s nothing serious. He’s an important player and it’s a shame he had to come off,” Solari said.


Morgan sets new sixes record as England run riot against Afghanistan

Updated 18 June 2019
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Morgan sets new sixes record as England run riot against Afghanistan

  • Morgan hit 17 sixes in his career-best 148, with England’s total of 25 sixes also a new world record
  • Morgan’s tally surpassed the record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings previously shared by India’s Rohit Sharma, South Africa’s AB de Villiers and West Indies’ Chris Gayle

MANCHESTER: England captain Eoin Morgan set a new world record for most sixes in a one-day international innings as the World Cup hosts piled up 397 for six against Afghanistan on Tuesday.
Morgan hit 17 sixes in his career-best 148, with England’s total of 25 sixes also a new world record.
Morgan, dropped on 28, dominated a third-wicket stand of 189 with Joe Root (82), whose contribution to their partnership was a mere 33.
Afghanistan star leg-spinner Rashid Khan set an unwanted record with 0-110 in nine overs — the most expensive return at a World Cup and second costliest in all ODI cricket.
Morgan’s tally surpassed the record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings previously shared by India’s Rohit Sharma, South Africa’s AB de Villiers and West Indies’ Chris Gayle.
But one ball after launching Gulbadin Naib for the record-breaking six, Morgan holed out off the Afghanistan captain to end a 71-ball innings that also featured four fours.
His innings, which featured 118 runs in boundaries, was all the more impressive as Morgan had been doubtful for this match with a back spasm suffered in England’s eight-wicket win over the West Indies, in which he could not bat.
Jonny Bairstow (90) got England off to a solid start after Morgan won the toss, with the home side accelerating after James Vince fell for 26 when he mishooked paceman Dawlat Zadran to short fine-leg.
Rank outsiders Afghanistan, yet to win a game at this tournament, did not help themselves with some woeful outfielding.
Bairstow was untroubled until, and in sight of his eighth ODI century, he chipped a return catch to Naib.
A visibly annoyed Bairstow walked off having been in command during a 99-ball innings that featured eight fours and three sixes.
Morgan settled in quickly, hitting Naib for two sixes including a fine hit over long-on.
But the left-hander should have been out when he skied Rashid Khan only for Dawlat Zadran at deep midwicket to make such a mess of the catch that the ball bounced out of his hands and over the rope for four.
It was a costly error, with Morgan immediately hitting a soaring six. He cleared the boundary again in a 36th over that cost 18 runs.
Morgan then went to fifty with his fifth six in 36 balls faced when he pulled off-spinner Mohammad Nabi high into an 8,000-capacity temporary stand.
Root was denied a second successive hundred and third of the tournament when he holed out off Gulbadin, whose three for 68 was not a bad return in the circumstances.
But the sixes kept coming, with Moeen Ali setting a new team record when he launched the penultimate delivery of the innings, from Dawlat, over long-on.