YOKOHAMA: Corinthians, champions of South America, beat European champions Chelsea 1-0 in their FIFA Club World Cup final in Tokyo. Paulo Guerrero headed the Brazilians’ winner midway through the second half and ‘Timao’ deservedly ended a five-year European domination of the competition.
Peruvan striker Guerrero thus took an indirect form of revenge for Bayern Munich, one of his previous clubs and whom Chelsea had beaten in last May’s Champions League Final to earn the trip to Tokyo.
Corinthians thus won their second world crown after having won the initial FIFA club tournament in 2000. Their victory meant a second defeat for Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez in the event, after the failure with Liverpool in 2005; he was a winner with Internazionale in 2010.
Chelsea had made the sharper start with Eden Hazard and Juan Mata lively in seeking out Fernando Torres but Corinthians, pressing off a high defensive line, began to take command as the first half reached the midway stage.
Emerson and Paulinho wasted half-chances with wayward shooting while Chelsea’s David Luiz, playing against the club he supported as a boy, squandered a dangerous free kick position with a scuffed shot into the wall.
Goal line technology has been used for the first time, officially, at the Club World Cup. The nearest incident to a test came in the 11th minute when a Gary Cahill shot after a right-wing corner, was saved on the goal-line by keeper Cassio. Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, not having received the appropriate electronic signal, waved play on.
Corinthians should have gone ahead in the 33rd minute. Ex-Bayern striker Guerrero cut the ball across the goal and Emerson, darting in from the left, struck his low shot against Petr Cech’s right-hand post.
Chelsea responded by switching Victor Moses from right to left wing and he eluded his marker to deliver an angled shot which Cassio dived left to push around a post.
Corinthians struck decisively in the 68th minute. Danilo cut in from the left and delivered an angled shot. The ball ricocheted up off a defender’s foot but Chelsea’s three remaining defenders all stood rooted to the line as Guerrero rose to head home.
The Brazilians had one scare in the closing stages. In the 86th minute a long throw by Ramires caught them by surprise but Torres, with only Cassio to beat, jabbed his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Torres headed home in stoppage time but the ‘goal’ was disallowed correctly for offside and Chelsea even finished with 10 men after Gary Cahill was sent off for flinging out an arm in an off-the-ball incident with Emerson.
Chelsea’s acting captain Frank Lampard – John Terry being absent, injured – was already thinking ahead within minutes of the final whistle.
“It was disappointing to come all this way and lose the final,” said the veteran midfielder, “but now we have to keep pushing on in the hunt for the Premier League title.”
In fact, Chelsea have another cup date before they resume Premier action at home to Aston Villa next Sunday: on Wednesday they go to second division Leeds, owned by former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
Manager Rafa Benitez tried to find positives, saying: “We go back to start working on the good things. Here, and the other day against Monterrey, we could see a lot of positives. Here we were playing against a very good team and we still had four clear chances.”
Corinthians: Cassio – Alessandro, Chicao, Cren Benini, Fabio Santos – Paulinho, Ralf – Jorge Henrique, Danilo, Emerson (Wallace 90) – Guerrero (Martinez 87). Coach: Tite.
Chelsea: Cech – Ivanovic (Azpilicueta 83), David Luiz, Cahill, Cole – Ramires, Lampard – Moses (Oscar 72), Mata, Hazard (Marin 87) – Torres. Trainer: Benitez
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey).
Tournament best player: Cassio (Corinthians)
Top scorer: Cesar Delgado (Monterrey), Hisato Sato (Horishima) 3 goals each.
** The third place play-off in Toyota saw Mexico’s Monterry’s beat Egypt’s Al Ahly 2-0, fortunately, on goals from Jesus Corona and Cesar Delgado.
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