Late penalty sees Chelsea claim maiden Club World Cup title

Club World Cup, featured, football

Chelsea have been crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions for the first time with an extra-time penalty awarded by Australian referee Chris Beath and converted by Kai Havertz breaking the hearts of Brazil’s Palmeiras.

Havertz, scorer of the winning goal in last season’s Champions League final, was as cool as a cucumber as he converted in the 117th minute after Palmeiras’s Luan had conceded the spot kick with a handball.

Palmeiras’s misery was complete when Luan was sent off in stoppage time for a desperate tackle on Havertz.

Chelsea have now won every major club trophy since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took control in 2003.

The Blues are the ninth European winners of the CWC in a row. The last team from Europe not to win the tournament were Chelsea, losing to Corinthians in the 2012 final.

The final in the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, where 15,000 Palmeiras fans outnumbered Chelsea supporters, took a while to come to life.

Chelsea became increasingly dominant though and took the lead in the 55th minute when Romelu Lukaku powered in a header.

Palmeiras hit back shortly afterwards when Thiago Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball and Raphael Veiga converted from the spot to send the Brazilian club’s fans wild.

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lifts the FIFA Club World Cup trophy.

Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea lifts the FIFA Club World Cup trophy. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Chelsea were the stronger side in extra time but a penalty shootout loomed until Luan’s raised arm was struck by Cesar Azpilicueta’s volley from close range and after a VAR check Beath went to check a pitch-side monitor.

He returned to point to the spot and Havertz did the rest.

Since taking charge little over a year ago Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who was in attendance after missing the semi-final because of a positive COVID-19 test, has now earned Chelsea the European and world club crowns.

“It never stops. We want to keep on winning trophies,” Tuchel said in a pitch-side interview before his team were given their medals by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

“In the end if you score late you need luck to do it but we were relentless and we did not stop trying.”

Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras had been bidding to become the fourth Brazilian club to win the title.

Chelsea took the lead in clinical fashion 10 minutes after halftime when Callum Hudson-Odoi got to the byline and his cross was perfect for Lukaku who headed past Weverton.

The lead did not last long though as Brazilian Thiago went up to clear a cross but the ball struck his raised arm and Veiga fired the spot kick inside Edouard Mendy’s left-hand post.

Chelsea moved up a gear after that point and were rewarded late on as Havertz again showed an appetite for the big occasion to keep Chelsea’s trophy machine rumbling on.

Egyptian side Al Ahly won the third-placed playoff, beating Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal 4-0.


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