Karim Benzema in action© AFP
Karim Benzema’s Al Ittihad secured progress from the first round of the Club World Cup with a convincing 3-0 win against Auckland City on Tuesday. Backed by a full house at home in Jeddah, Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad made short work of New Zealand’s Auckland City, winners of the OFC Champions League. Brazilian Romarinho, N’Golo Kante and Benzema scored in the first half to book their team’s place in the second round, where they will face Al Ahly of Egypt on Friday. The Saudi side made their dominance pay on 29 minutes when a clearance came invitingly onto Romarinho, whose firm strike glanced off an Auckland defender leaving the ‘keeper stranded.
Al Ittihad doubled their lead five minutes later when Kante thumped a right-footed volley into the back of the net following a weak clearance from a corner.
The tie was effectively over with 40 minutes on the clock when five-time tournament winner Benzema tapped home after slick interplay down the right by Kante and Muhannad Al Shanqeeti.
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