Havertz Extra-Time Penalty Secures Chelsea Club World Cup Title

Chelsea's players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil's Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
Chelsea’s players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil’s Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

Kai Havertz scored a penalty deep into extra time as Chelsea defeated Palmeiras 2-1 in the Club World Cup final on Saturday to complete their collection of major trophies.

Romelu Lukaku’s superb header gave the European champions the lead on 54 minutes but Raphael Veiga levelled from the spot for the Copa Libertadores winners just past the hour in Abu Dhabi.

Havertz, the hero in the Champions League final against Manchester City, was Chelsea’s match-winner again as he converted a penalty on 117 minutes awarded following a VAR review.

Chelsea have now claimed every possible trophy since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, and become the third English side to win the global tournament after Manchester United and Liverpool.

READ ALSO: Ethiopia’s Ulfata Geleta Wins Lagos City Marathon

The Blues avenged their 1-0 loss to Corinthians in the 2012 final, but will have little time to celebrate with a critical stretch on the horizon once they return to London.

They face Lille in the Champions League last 16 either side of the League Cup final against Liverpool and FA Cup fifth round, playing in four different competitions in 12 days.

Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was back in the dugout having flown out to Abu Dhabi on Friday after missing the past two games following a positive test for Covid-19.

Edouard Mendy returned in goal in the wake of Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations victory, at the expense of Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose much improved form is likely to attract interest from other clubs in the summer.

Chelsea's players celebrate after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil's Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
Chelsea’s players celebrate after winning the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup final football match against Brazil’s Palmeiras at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi, on February 12, 2022.
KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

Chelsea’s decline in the Premier League has coincided with lack of authority and conviction, and despite controlling possession it wasn’t until the end of the first half they forced Weverton into a save.

Even then, Thiago Silva’s searing drive from distance appeared to be going wide.

In contrast, Palmeiras were twice left to rue their lack of efficiency as Dudu stabbed well wide before Andreas Christensen made a key intervention to negate a promising attack for the Brazilians.

Lukaku rises to the occasion

Lukaku has struggled to meet expectations after rejoining Chelsea from Inter Milan as the club’s record signing, but the Belgian made it two goals in as many games here early in the second half.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, given the nod at left wing-back, whipped in a cross and Lukaku soared above two defenders to power beyond Weverton.

Christian Pulisic, brought on 30 minutes in for the injured Mason Mount, curled just wide after tidy interplay with Lukaku, but Chelsea gave Palmeiras a way back in when Silva handled in the area.

Australian referee Chris Beath was recommended to review the incident on the touchline monitor as Palmeiras players and coach Abel Ferreira appealed, and he almost immediately pointed to the spot.

Veiga, on target in the 2-0 win over Al Ahly, held his nerve to slam the penalty beyond Mendy, greeted with bellowing roars from many of the near-capacity 32,871 in attendance — the majority wearing the green and white of Palmeiras.

Pulisic again rolled an effort narrowly wide from an inviting lay-off and extra time came as little surprise, Chelsea forced to play an extra 30 minutes for the second time in a week.

A frantic scramble inside the six-yard box saw Pulisic bundle against the bar, although an offside in the build-up would have ruled out any goal.

Timo Werner curled over as time ticked away and Palmeiras defended deep, but Chelsea got the late breakthrough when Luan was penalised for blocking Cesar Azpilicueta’s volley with his arm.

Havertz sent Weverton the wrong way to spark wild celebrations, and a bitter night for Palmeiras culminated in them finishing with 10 men after Luan was sent off for scything down the German.

 

AFP

Club W/Cup: Bayern Munich Equal Barca Record, Win Six Titles In Eight Months

Bayern becomes the second team after Barca to win the sextuple. Photo: [email protected] English

 

Bayern Munich on Thursday won the FIFA Club World Cup, becoming the second club (after Barcelona) to win the sextuple after beating Mexican side Tigres UANL to the royal diadem at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.

Pavard’s close-range tap-in was enough to give European champions Bayern their sixth title within the last 12 months.

This is the eighth year in a row that the Champions League winners have gone on to win the Club World Cup, as Bayern follow in the footsteps of last year’s champions Liverpool.

Bayern are the second side to win all six available titles within a year after Barcelona managed the feat in 2009.

Hansi Flick’s men had already won the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Super Cup and German Super Cup last season.

It meant heartbreak for Tigres, the first Mexican side to reach the Club World Cup final as CONCACAF champions.

Bayern grabbed the winner when Joshua Kimmich’s cross — intended for Robert Lewandowski — bounced off the hands off Tigres goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman and into the path of Pavard on 59 minutes.

The goal stood after a lengthy VAR review, while Bayern also had a first-half goal by Kimmich ruled out with Lewandowski offside.

Bayern were forced into two changes to their starting line-up after a double blow in the build-up.

Thomas Mueller dropped out after testing positive for Covid-19 while defender Jerome Boateng flew back to Germany for “personal reasons” amid reports his former girlfriend was found dead in Berlin.

Serge Gnabry took Mueller’s place, with Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Suele forming a new centre-back partnership.

After a strong start, Bayern looked to have gone ahead when Kimmich let fly with a long-range strike, but Lewandowski saw the flag go up.

After Pavard gave Bayern the lead, Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso hit the post.

Bayern deserved the win and kept up the pressure, with coach Flick clenching his fists in celebration at the final whistle.

AFP

Liverpool Hopeful On Van Dijk Fitness For Club World Cup Final

 

Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between FC Porto and Liverpool at the Dragao Stadium in Porto on April 17, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful Virgil van Dijk will be fit to play in Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Flamengo after the Dutchman missed their semi-final.

“Virgil was part of training today so we will see how it looks at the end,” Klopp said at a press conference at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, where Saturday’s game will be played.

Van Dijk had played in every match this season for the Anfield club, with the exception of the League Cup, before sitting out Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Mexican side Monterrey.

With Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren also absent, Jordan Henderson dropped into central defence to partner Joe Gomez in that game.

Fabinho is also missing for the Premier League leaders, while Georginio Wijnaldum — who travelled to Qatar despite picking up an injury in last weekend’s win over Watford — again sat out training.

“We have no new injury concerns,” Klopp added. “We played on Wednesday and now it’s Friday so we are using each hour for recovery and then we will see who we can line up tomorrow.”

AFP

Kashima Antlers Reach Club World Cup Finals

Kashima Antlers ,FIFA Club World Cup ,Atletico Nacional Kashima Antlers have advanced to the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup final after a 3-0 victory against Atletico Nacional in Osaka.

Shoma Doi converted a historic penalty on 33 minutes, the first spot-kick to be awarded with video assistant referees assisting the referee in a FIFA competition.

Yasushi Endo and Yuma Suzuki subsequently bagged two late second-half goals to send the J-league champions into the global club showpiece final.

Kashima have made history by becoming the first Japanese team to reach the final of the global competition.

They will face the winner in the match between Club America and Real Madrid, expected to place on Wednesday in Yokohama.

Barcelona Are World Club Champions

BarcelonaBarcelona are the 2015 World Champions, defeating River Plate 3-0 on Sunday night in Japan.

Luis Enrique’s men cruised to victory in the final of FIFA Club World Cup competition, adding the gong to their La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Champions League and Uefa Super Cup successes.

It was a spectacle by the ‘MSN’ trio. Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez scored with big contributions from Neymar, and after a tough first half.

Lionel Messi had opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a sublime strike to help the champions’ confidence against a determined River Plate team.

Dani Alves found Neymar in the box, and the Brazilian passed the ball to Messi, who got away with a little handball and finally found the opening goal with his left foot.

Luis Suarez netted a superb second half double to help the Spanish giants emerge as the world’s best football club in 2015.

River Platehad come into the second half seeking an equalizer that seemed highly possible but they left gaps which Barça took advantage of.

Less than five minutes in, Sergio Busquets stole a ball and ignited a counter-attack with a beautiful through ball to Luis Suárez, who calmly finished to score the second goal.

In the 68th minute, Neymar’s beautiful cross found Suárez in the box, and the Uruguayan headed away from the keeper to get the third.

Barcelona have now equaled the record of Egypt’s Ahly, reaching the 20th international title after winning the Club World Cup title.

Thierry Henry Confirms Retirement

Arsenal---Thierry-Henry-to-return-to-Emirates-and-end-his-career-as-a-Gunner-699One of football top players, Thierry Henry, have decided to hang his boots after leaving New York Red Bulls with the aim of returning to London to take up a role in the media.

The 37-year-old former Arsenal striker left the New York Red Bulls at the start of the month after they were knocked out of the MLS play-offs, but there was speculation he might choose to play on at another club – with a return to the Gunners mooted.

Henry has now made it clear that he will no longer continue his playing career and will start working as a pundit with Sky Sports instead.

“After 20 years in the game I have decided to retire from professional football. It has been an incredible journey and I would like to thank all the fans, team mates and individuals involved with Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, New York Red Bulls and of course the French National Team that have made my time in the game so special,” a statement on his official website read.

“It is now time for a different career path and I am pleased to say that I will be returning to London and joining Sky Sports. I will hopefully share some of the insights, observations and experiences I have learnt over the years with you guys.

“I have had some amazing memories (mostly good!) and a wonderful experience. I hope you have enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed taking part. See you on the other side…”

Goal-laden career

Henry will always be most closely associated with Arsenal, where he is the all-time goalscorer with 228 goals in 377 games across two different spells.

Arsene Wenger, who had known him as a young player at Monaco, signed him from Juventus for £11million in 1999, and immediately shifted him from the wing to a central striking position.

His blend of pace and power made him one of the most feared forwards in English football, and Henry won the Premier League title twice with the Gunners, as well as the FA Cup three times.

Henry left Arsenal in 2007 and joined Barcelona, where he won the UEFA Champions League in 2009. He also added two La Liga titles, the Copa del Rey, Spanish Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his honours list in three seasons at the Nou Camp.

His medal collection also includes a Ligue 1 title and Trophee des Champions with Monaco, his first professional club.

He spent the final five years of his playing career with the Red Bulls, returning to Arsenal to make four appearances on loan in early 2012.

With France, Henry scored 51 goals in 123 appearances – only Lilian Thuram has more caps with Les Bleus. He was a member of the 1998 World Cup winning squad, while also being a runner up in 2006. Henry was a European champion in 2000 and was part of the team that won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.

Real Madrid Signs German World Cup Star, Toni Kroos

KroosGermany’s World Cup winner, Toni Kroos, has completed his £24million move to Spanish La Liga giant, Real Madrid from Bayern Munich.

Kroos, who was a key player for Germany as they beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup and scoring two goals in the 7-1 demolition of host, Brazil in the semi finals, was presented to the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday afternoon after undergoing a medical.

The 24 year old was delighted to sign and said he would win trophies for the Galacticos.

 “I know that at this club you are expected to win trophies but I’m the right man for that because I’m used to winning.

“I know this is the correct decision and I’m very proud to have made it.

“I cannot think of anything more wonderful than being here. This is the biggest club in the world.

“In 2013 I won the Champions League and in 2014 Real won it, and I hope we can win it again next year. I hope to be able to return the confidence this club has shown in me.”

Bayern Munich Chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has thanked Toni Kroos for his quota in making Bayern great and wished him well.

 “We would like to thank Toni Kroos for his time here in Munich.

“We enjoyed great success here together. We would like to wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real.”

Kroos joined Bayern from Hansa Rostock as a 16-year-old but spent 18 months on loan at Bayer Leverkusen and to Munich where he made 173 Bundesliga appearances and won three Bundesliga titles in four seasons, the DFB-Pokal three times and being part of the historic treble-winning side of 2012/13.

They also won the UEFA Champions League before winning the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup last year.