Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel dedicated his team’s first club World Cup triumph to owner Roman Abramovich after winning overtime against Brazilian side Palmeiras.
A 117-minute penalty in Abu Dhabi by Kai Havertz – which also scored the 2021 Champions League victory – means the Blues have now won every possible trophy under the Russian billionaire’s ownership.
Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring with a header in the second half before Raphael Veiga equalized from the spot.
Palmeiras defender Luan was sent off in injury time as the Blues sealed the win.
“It’s for him, there’s no doubt it’s for him,” Tuchel said of Abramovich.
“We met quickly on the pitch after the final, he said ‘congratulations’ and I said ‘congratulations, it’s for you, it’s your club and it’s your contribution and your passion that made it possible’ and I’m happy to be part of it.
“So obviously the trophy is for him.”
Just like in the semi-final against Al-Hilal, Chelsea dominated possession but struggled to create chances for much of the final in the UAE.
Their lead looked unlikely to improve when Mason Mount was forced out through injury, just as he was in their FA Cup draw with Plymouth, as Lukaku went on to cut an isolated figure up front.
Palmeiras are satisfied to make the most of the threat on the counterattack, with the rhythm of Rony and Dudu extending the defense of the Blues, but the clear opportunities are few.
Then, nine minutes after half-time, Lukaku scored the turning point when Callum Hudson-Odoi sent in his first precise cross and the Belgian forward beat Weverton with a header.
Mount’s substitute Christian Pulisic came close with a long-range shot after a clever sacking by Lukaku as the English side tried to solidify their control.
But just past the hour, Palmeiras equalized when Thiago Silva was judged for managing in the box and, after a check on the sideline monitor, Veiga converted with emphasis from 12 yards to send the game into extra time.
With a looming penalty kick, Chelsea secured the trophy with their own penalty kick. Luan’s hand ball was also checked on the monitor before German director Havertz shot home.
Luan was then sent off for a foul on the match winner in the last minute, after the referee was told to consult the monitor for a third time.
“We were running out of lights”
Tuchel says he beat his Covid isolation only at the “penultimate chance” of personally coaching Chelsea for their first world club title.
The German Blues boss was frustrated with having to coach Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round against Plymouth and the Club World Cup semi-final from his office.
And, over time, he says he made several trips to the airport without even waiting for the Covid test result, such was his desperation to join the Chelsea team in Abu Dhabi.
However, it tested negative on the penultimate chance of reaching the UAE in time.
“We were running out of lights, with the time difference we knew the deadline would come,” said Tuchel.
“So it was the penultimate chance to make it, the last one would have been to arrive today in the morning. So I’m happy we made it.
“Several times I was going to the airport and several times while driving I was called back because my test was not negative.
“And finally we made it, I arrived yesterday for dinner, at 8.15 pm. Coaching is also hearing, on the sidelines. It is not possible to train only from the office”.