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Corinthians stun Chelsea

Brazilians win second world title thanks to Guerrero’s second-half goal

Corinthians players celebrate after winning the Club World Cup yesterday. They beat European champions Chelsea 1-0 in the final.

Corinthians players celebrate after winning the Club World Cup yesterday. They beat European champions Chelsea 1-0 in the final.

Brazilian side Corinthians won the Club World Cup in Japan yesterday, overcoming European champions Chelsea 1-0 in a close encounter.

Striker Paolo Guerrero got the goal as the Sao Paulo club secured their second intercontinental title – they won the 2000 FIFA Club World Championship – and became the first side from outside Europe to win the title since 2006.

“We played a high-quality match,” a delighted Corinthians coach Tite said afterwards.

“Everything went well. Each player performed his own role and were able to do well in their position. I’m very happy.”

But 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.”

Benitez made three changes to the team that beat Mexican side Monterrey 3-1 in the semis – replacing Oscar, John Obi Mikel and Cesar Azpilicueta with Frank Lampard, Ramires and Victor Moses.

Tite changed just one player from the side that scraped to a 1-0 last-four win over Egypt’s Al Ahly, bringing in Jorge Henrique for Douglas.

The match at the almost-full 68,000-capacity International Stadium in Yokohama was frenetic right from the first whistle as play swung from end to end.

Chelsea came closest to taking the lead after eight minutes when Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio fumbled a Gary Cahill effort from a corner, before gathering the ball just short of the goal-line as Moses looked to pounce.

On 25 minutes the referee waved away a penalty appeal by Corinthians when Guerrero went down softly under a challenge by Cahill.

Emerson should have scored three minutes later after Cahill let the ball slip under his foot. But the Corinthians forward blazed his shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty box with just Petr Cech to beat.

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.

Moses did better two minutes later, cutting in from the left and curling a shot that Cassio did well to tip round his left-hand post.

The Corinthians goalkeeper – later named player of the tournament – was proving tough to beat, holding onto a 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 before midfielder Paulinho gave Cech a fright with a shot that narrowly went wide on 64 minutes.

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, believed to be for lashing out at Emerson, but Chelsea managed one last chance in injury time.

Torres headed the ball in the net, but it was ruled offside and Corinthians held on.

CONCACAF champions Monterrey took third place earlier yesterday, defeating Al Ahly 2-0 through goals from Jesus Corona and Cesar Delgado.

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