Internazionale (Italy) 3-0 TP Mazembe (DR Congo)
Goals: Pandev 13, Eto’o 17, Biabiany 86
Internazionale beat TP Mazembe 3-0 on Sunday evening to add the FIFA Club World Cup to the trio of titles won last season under former boss Jose Mourinho and relieve some of the pressure on his successor, Rafa Benitez, in the process.
Early goals from Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto’o gave the Italians an advantage they never looked like surrendering, and despite a determined response from Mazembe – the first ever team from outside Europe and South America to reach a Club World Cup final – glory was secured when Jonathan Biabiany added a third goal near the end.
Benitez made two changes to the eleven that started in Wednesday’s 3-0 semi-final win over Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, keeping faith with Thiago Motta as a replacement for the hamstrung Wesley Sneijder, and moving Javier Zanetti into midfield at the expense of Dejan Stankovic, with the Brazilian Maicon coming in at right-back.
Mazembe coach Lamine N’Diaye unsurprisingly retained the same side that made history by beating Internacional of Brazil 2-0 last Tuesday.
Despite a confident start by the Africans, it took only 13 minutes for Inter to stamp their footprint on the final. Cameroonian Eto’o flicked the ball over the Mazembe back four, and when captain Kazembe Mihayo missed with an acrobatic attempt at a clearance, Pandev took advantage to slot the ball home low to the goalkeeper’s right.
The advantage was then doubled just four minutes later. Esteban Cambiasso fed the overlapping Zanetti on the right-hand flank, and though Pandev failed to control the 37-year-old skipper’s cutback, Eto’o was on hand to roll a low shot agonisingly past Muteba Kidiaba’s dive and inside his right-hand post.
To their credit, Mazembe showed few signs of losing either nerve or discipline, but despite some clever wide play from Joel Kimwaki and Mulota Kabangu, their attempts on goal were generally restricted to speculative pot shots from distance. The best chances of the remainder of the half fell to Inter, as Diego Milito was twice put clean through on goal only to be denied on each occasion by Kidiaba, the hero of the semi-final.
N’Diaye brought on forward Mukok Kanda for Ngandu Kasongo at the start of the second half in an attempt to change the flow of the game, but his side were again forced to shoot from distance as Inter looked content with their two-goal advantage.
The game finally opened up a little more for Mazembe in the final quarter of an hour, after Dioko Kaluyituka had a penalty claim for a challenge by Inter ‘keeper Julio Cesar turned down by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura. Kaluyituka then saw his close-range volley parried by Cesar, with the European champions’ defence just about managing to clear before Amia Ekanga could net the rebound.
With five minutes left on the clock, young Frenchman Biabiany sealed a well-deserved triumph for Benitez’s men when he expertly controlled a lofted through ball from fellow substitute Stankovic, deceiving Kidiaba to roll the ball into the empty net.
Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, who saw off J. League clubs Kawasaki Frontale and Gamba Osaka on their way to being crowned champions of Asia in Tokyo last month, were beaten 4-2 by Internacional in the playoff for third place. Jang Suk-Won was sent off in the first half as the Koreans succumbed to goals from Tinga, Alecsandro (2), and Andres D’Alessandro before Mauricio Molina netted two goals in reply late on.