Kashima Antlers 0 River Plate 4: Copa Libertadores champions cruises to third place

Copa Libertadores winners River Plate capped a wonderful 2018 by hammering Kashima Antlers to claim third place in the Club World Cup.

Bruno Zuculini scored as River Plate beat Kashima Antlers.   -  Getty Images

Gonzalo Martinez scored twice on his final River Plate appearance as the Copa Libertadores champions secured third place in the Club World Cup by beating Kashima Antlers 4-0.

Beaten on penalties by Al Ain in the semi-finals, River – who has yet to return to Argentina following its Copa triumph over rivals Boca Juniors in Madrid – made light work of AFC Champions League winners Kashima in Saturday's encounter.

Although Jung Seung-hyun hit the crossbar, Kashima was on the back foot from the off – Kwoun Sun-tae pulling off fine saves to deny Julian Alvarez and Santos Borre respectively.

Kashima's goalkeeper was forced off with an injury soon after, and replacement Hitoshi Sogahata had little chance of preventing Bruno Zuculini's 24th-minute header clipping in off the upright.

With Sogahata having kept out another Borre effort, Kashima almost levelled against the run of play on the stroke of half-time, but Koki Anzai's strike clattered off the woodwork.

Borre had a goal disallowed for offside after the interval, but River doubled their tally when substitute Martinez – who will join MLS club Atlanta United for 2019 – hammered home from Alvarez's throughball.

Shoma Doi and Ryota Nagaki were both denied by the crossbar as Kashima rallied, but any hopes of a comeback were ended when Borre slotted home from the spot after Tomoya Inukai's foul, with Martinez's delicate chip adding further gloss in stoppage time.

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