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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Football

Corinthians put an end to the seven-year itch
AFP
Yokohama, December 17, 2012
First Published: 00:24 IST(17/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:26 IST(17/12/2012)

Brazilian giants Corinthians won the Club World Cup in Japan on Sunday, overcoming European champions Chelsea 1-0 in a closely-fought 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 their 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 thrashed Mexican side Monterrey 3-1 in the semi-final - 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 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 Victor Moses looked to pounce.

On 25 minutes the referee waved away a penalty appeal by Corinthians when centre-forward 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.

Spurs back in top-4
London: Tottenham Hotspur rekindled their push for Champions League qualification by overcoming Swansea City 1-0 on Sunday to return to the Premier League's top four.

Jan Vertonghen claimed the game's only goal with 15 minutes remaining at White Hart Lane, crisply dispatching a free-kick from Kyle Walker to register his first goal in the English top flight. Walker had come closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half, only for his rasping 25-yard drive to be parried by visiting goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel.

Tremmel also denied Jermain Defoe in the closing stages, while injury time saw England midfielder Scott Parker make his first Spurs appearance of the season after a spell on the sidelines with an Achilles problem.

Spurs had slipped out of the top four after shipping two late goals in a 2-1 loss at Everton last weekend, and Vertonghen said he was relieved that his side had held firm in the closing stages on this occasion. "(The goal) was at the perfect time," the Belgian centre-back said.

"Swansea play good football, but I think we made lots of chances today. We were strong to the end, because we know what's happened in six or seven other games."


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