Chelsea complete their trophy cabinet by clinching the Club World Cup in extra-time, with Kai Havertz the hero once again.
Written by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).
After beating Al-Hilal on Wednesday, Chelsea booked their place in Saturday’s Club World Cup Final where they faced Brazilian side Palmeiras.
Following their heroic 2012 Champions League victory, The Blues have only played once in the competition, which saw them lose 1-0 to Corinthians in the same year. The London club also have a relatively poor record against Brazilian competition, winning just two out of nine games.
With Chelsea boosted by the return of Thomas Tuchel – who has now reached every possible final with The Blues – they hoped to set the record straight in Abu Dhabi.
With proceedings getting underway on a warm night in the Middle East, the game began with both teams playing relatively reserved – holding their cards firmly to their chest. It was a cagey affair for the opening 15 minutes, with both teams failing to carve out a significant chance.
On the 17th minute, Palmeiras had their first shot on target – although it barely tested the Chelsea goalkeeper. The Blues also had attempts of their own at the other end, but failed to hit the target on more than one occasion.
The best chance of the first half fell to an off-balanced Dudu, who scuffed a shot wide from a promising position. The Brazilians looked the better of the two teams, but lacked quality to punish Chelsea in the final third.
With Chelsea yet to make a mark on the game, the two teams went in the half-time break with nothing to separate them.
Straight out of the tunnel, Thomas Tuchel’s side looked a lot more direct with their approach which saw them threaten the Palmeiras backline.
Infact, their aggressive intent paid off, with Romelu Lukaku heading Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross home on the 56th minute. The Belgian – who also scored in midweek – gave The Blues an all-important goal to open the scoring as the game approached the hour mark.
Just minutes later, the Brazilians were awarded a penalty through VAR as Thiago Silva was controversially penalised for handball. Raphael Veiga converted from the spot, with the teams suddenly back to level pegging.
The equaliser put a spring in Palmeiras’ step, who saw the context of the game entirely change from nowhere. That being said, neither team were able to find the third goal of the game in the remaining half hour, resulting in extra-time being played.
Just as they did throughout the entirely of the game, Palmeiras gave Chelsea very limited room to operate which led to The Blues creating a lack of chances to score. The introduction of Timo Werner injected some energy into the London club’s attacks, with one seeing a rebounded effort strike the frame of the goal.
In almost replica fashion to the second half, it was this time Chelsea who were awarded controversially awarded a penalty with Luna penalised for handball. Coming to their rescue, Havertz coolly converted past Weverton to gift The Blues the lead with minutes remaining.
Things went from bad to worst for Luna, who was eventually sent off for a later last-ditch challenge on goalscorer Kai Havertz.
The full-time whistle later blew, with Chelsea being crowned World Champions for the first time in the club’s history.
After the Whistle:
Chelsea fans have been singing “we’ve won it all” for years, but can now sing it knowing they’ve won every club competition possible.
Although the game was a tough test, The Blues did well to edge past a stubborn opponent who were well and truly up for the occasion. On their 40th game of the season, Chelsea did what only two English teams have ever done – which is win the Club World Cup.
The trophy is already their second of the season. Chelsea are still competing in every available competition, with a Carabao Cup final also booked at the end of the month.
Things are looking promising for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who seem to be creating history with every passing game.
Chelsea 2-1 Palmeiras (AET).
- Lukaku (55’).
- Veiga (64’ pen)
- Havertz (117’ pen).
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Christensen (90’), Silva, Rüdiger; Azpilicueta ©, Kanté, Kovačić (90’), Hudson-Odoi (77’); Mount (31’), Havertz; Lukaku (76’).
- Subs: Pulisic (31’), Werner (76’), Saúl (77’), Sarr (90’), Ziyech (90’).
Palmeiras (5-4-1): Weverton; Rocha (118’), Luan, Gómez, Piquerez, Scarpa; Rony (77’), Danilo, Rafael (60’), Dudu (103’); Veiga (78’).
- Subs: Jailson (60’), Wesley (77’), Atuesta (78’), Navarro (103’), Deyverson (118’).
Chelsea (71%) vs Palmeiras (29%).
Chelsea (20) vs Palmeiras (11).
Shots on Target:
Chelsea (3) vs Palmeiras (3).
Chelsea (7) vs Palmeiras (3).
Chelsea (22) vs Palmeiras (19).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | FIFA).
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