Corinthians beat Chelsea to lift Club World Cup

- Daily Mail

Chelsea’s bid to conquer the world failed at the final hurdle and Corinthians became the first South American world champions for six years.

Paulo Guerrero scored the only goal of the game with a header in the 69th minute and the European champions finished the game with 10 men after Gary Cahill was sent off for a kick on Emerson.

Fernando Torres had a header ruled out for offside in stoppage time and the Brazilians celebrated in style in front of the thousands of fans who travelled to support them in Japan.

Chelsea’s South Americans took the defeat hard. Ramires and David Luiz were in tears and had to be consoled by interim manager Rafa Benitez at the final whistle.

For the Blues, this is a fourth possible trophy which has already escaped them this season, after the FA Community Shield, the UEFA Super Cup and the Champions League.

For Benitez it was a second defeat in his third Club World Cup final but few can begrudge Corinthians their title or their extravagant celebrations.

They performed with power and passion, their support was incredible and goalkeeper Cassio made a series of important saves, starting in the 38th minute, when Frank Lampard’s vision and long-range passing ability unlocked the Brazilian defence.

Lampard’s long, early pass was well taken by the Spaniard. His shot was tame and easily smothered by Corinthians goalkeeper but the flash gave the Londoners some momentum.

Within a minute, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard launched another quick break out of defence. Hazard, who has shown signs of being revived under Benitez, jinked inside from the right and released Victor Moses on the opposite wing.

Moses turned onto his right foot and aimed the ball towards the far corner. It was perfectly placed, curling just inside the post, but it was at a comfortable height for the ‘keeper.

Cassio made an acrobatic leap to his left and turned the effort wide with his fingertips. He smothered a low drive from Mata as Chelsea ended the first half on top.

For the first half-hour, it had been an absorbing and even contest. Both teams were committed and compact and defended solidly. Corinthians shaded the best of the early chances.

Petr Cech barely had a save to make although Luiz, back in his more familiar central defensive role after his brief midfield cameo against Monterrey, was impressive.

Emerson seized on a slip by Gary Cahill but shot wildly over the bar from the edge of the box. Cahill produced a good block to thwart Paolo Guerrero and the rebound spun across goal to Emerson but he hit the outside of the post as he tried to squeeze the ball in from a narrow angle.

By the interval, even the fanatical Corinthians support had, by its own standards, become a little subdued but the volume was turned up again for the restart.

Mata released Hazard, sliding a pass between right-back and centre-half. No-one was fast enough to catch the Belgian, but Cassio dashed off his line to make it difficult and blocked his shot.

The first chance of the second-half for Corinthians fell to Paulinho after composed hold-up play from Guerrero, who accepted a pass on his chest and eased the ball to Paulinho who connected well on the half-volley.

It zipped across the surface, about a yard wide of Cech’s left-hand post. Soon afterwards, the European champions were behind and it was Paulinho who did much of the damage, with a powerful crossfield run which dragged the Chelsea back-four out of position.

Danilo’s shot was charged down by Cahill but Cech had been lured from his line in the panic and the rebound lurched up in the air with the Czech keeper out of position.

Guerrero’s predatory instincts kicked in and the Peruvian international sprang high to nod into the opening goal from close range. Cue bedlam in Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium.

In Munich, Thomas Muller scored with seven minutes to play and thought he had won the game. He did not bargain for Didier Drogba. In Yokohama, Chelsea had 21 minutes to salvage something.

Benitez reacted instantly, sending on Oscar for Moses. Chelsea summoned a late rally and Torres squandered a glorious chance to take the game into extra-time five minutes from time.

Corinthians failed to clear a long throw from sub Cesar Azpilicueta and the ball ricocheted to Torres, eight yards out. He prodded it towards goal but he could not beat Cassio.

To complete the misery for the Blues, Cahill was dismissed in the closing seconds for kicking out at Emerson after a tangle on half-way.

Torres had a goal ruled out for offside in stoppage time and Mata hit the post with the final kick of the game. Manchester United remained the only English club to rule the world.