Sunday 16 December 2012
Chelsea missed out on the chance to become only the second Barclays Premier League side to win the FIFA World Club Championship after succumbing to a 1-0 defeat by Corinthians in the final.
"Their goalkeeper was the best player on the pitch"
The CONCACAF winners scored the only goal of the game on 69 minutes when Danilo’s shot looped into the air and Paolo Guerrero reacted fastest to head the ball into the net.
The European club champions, for whom Frank Lampard returned to the starting lineup after a lengthy injury layoff, created a number of chances but were denied time and again by an inspired goalkeeper, Cassio.
The 25-year-old reacted well to make a double-save on 11 minutes from Gary Cahill, who headed a corner goalwards before seeing his close-range drive smothered on the line at the second attempt.
Victor Moses’s curling effort was tipped wide in the first half while Fernando Torres’s shot was also smartly saved by the former PSV Eindhoven man.
Corinthians, playing largely on the counterattack, came close in the first half with Emerson striking an upright when attempting to redirect Guerrero’s scuffed shot, but it was the Blues who created more chances.
After the interval Eden Hazard was put through on goal by Juan Mata's searching pass only to be thwarted by Cassio and shortly afterwards the Brazilian side were in front as Danilo’s snaking run and shot was finished off by Guerrero, who headed past three Chelsea players on the goal-line.
"We had possession and very good counterattacks but it's a question of taking your chances"
Chelsea might have levelled with five minutes remaining when Torres unleashed a snapshot from 12 yards out, but Cassio was in the way once more, this time using his legs to preserve his side’s lead.
It summed up the Spaniard’s night that when he did finally did beat the Brazilian shot-stopper in added time with a brave header, his attempt was ruled out for offside.
To compound their misery Chelsea were also reduced to 10 men late on when Cahill was dismissed for an off-the-ball challenge and, after Mata hit the post with the last kick of the game, Corinthians were able to celebrate winning the trophy for the second time.
"They were very physical from the first minute with every challenge and every second ball," Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez told the club's official website. "As soon as they scored, they were passing and keeping the ball which made it difficult.
"You can analyse the game, but we created four very good chances, which is a lot, their goalkeeper was the best player on the pitch. We knew we would have chances in between the lines. We had possession and very good counterattacks but it's a question of taking your chances."