Quick-fire Bale hat-trick downs Antlers
Real Madrid 3-1 Koshima Antlers
Gareth Bale scored a sensational 11-minute hat-trick as Real Madrid began their quest for a third successive Club World Cup by beating Kashima Antlers.
The Real forward had been doubtful for the semi-final clash in Abu Dhabi due to an ankle sprain, but proved his fitness in superb style.
He calmly slotted home the opener in the closing stages of the first half, before his quick-fire double early in the second period put the game beyond his Japanese opponents.
Antlers midfielder Shoma Doi reduced the deficit with a consolation 12 minutes from time.
UAE club Al-Ain await Real in Saturday's final following their shock penalty shootout victory over Copa Libertadores champions River Plate.
Bale has now scored six goals in the tournament, trailing only his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo who has netted seven.
"He (Bale) played a superb match," Real coach Santiago Solari told reporters.
"He has shown what he is, and what he can do."
Bale was substituted in the 60th minute only for his replacement Asensio to be forced off 14 minutes later due to injury.