Brazilian giants Corinthians won the Club World Cup in Japan yesterday, overcoming European champions Chelsea 1-0 in a closely-fought encounter.
Striker Guerrero got the goal as the Sao Paulo club secured their second intercontinental title — they won the FIFA Club World Championship in 2000.
“We played a high quality match. Everything went well. Each player performed their own role and were able to do well in their position. I’m very happy,” Corinthians coach Tite said afterwards.
Interim Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez felt his team were unlucky to lose, ruing several missed chances. “We knew it would be a tough game against a good team. I think they had one (clear cut) chance and they scored and we didn’t take our chances. That was the difference.” The match at the 68,000-capacity International Stadium in Yokohama was frenetic right from the first whistle with both sides creating several chances as play swung from end to end.
On 25 minutes, the referee waved away a penalty appeal by Corinthians when centre-forward Guerrero went down softly under a challenge by Gary Cahill.
Guerrero then had a shot blocked shortly afterwards before striker Fernando Torres was similarly denied at the other end. The Spaniard should have done better on 37 minutes however, expertly controlling a long-range pass from Lampard that split the Corinthians’ defence.
But a weak shot at Cassio meant the Brazilians breathed a sigh of relief. The Corinthians goalkeeper was proving tough to beat, holding onto a long-range shot from Juan Mata shortly afterwards, and the teams entered the break goalless. The second half started as quick as the first, with Eden Hazard causing problems for the Corinthians defence.
There was finally a breakthrough five minutes later when Guerrero headed in from close range after Danilo’s shot was blocked. Benitez brought Oscar on for Moses almost straightaway. But it was Torres who missed the best chance to equalise when he shot straight at the goalkeeper from the edge of the six-yard box with only four minutes to go.
Cahill was sent off shortly afterwards. Torres had the ball in the net in injury time, but it was ruled offside and Corinthians held on. Meanwhile, CONCACAF champions Monterrey took third place earlier Sunday, defeating Al Ahly 2-0 through goals from Jesus Corona and Cesar Delgado.