Chelsea have been crowned Fifa Club World Cup champions for the first time having defeated Brazil’s Palmeiras in extra-time in the final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night.
The European champions got the better of their South American counterparts at a packed Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium, prevailing 2-1 in the capital thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz. The winner came from the penalty spot in the 117th minute.
Raphael Veigas had earlier equalised for Palmeiras with his own penalty after Thiago Silva was adjudged to have handled in the area. Chelsea had manager Thomas Tuchel back in the dugout following last week’s positive Covid-19 test.
The Premier League side, who lost in the final in 2012 in their only other Club World Cup appearance, took the lead on 54 minutes, when Lukaku met Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross from the left to head powerfully past Weverton in the Palmeiras goal.
It marked Lukaku’s second goal in successive games: the Belgian striker struck the winner in the 1-0 semi-final victory against Asian champions Al Hilal on Wednesday.
However, Palmeiras drew level 10 minutes later. Silva contested an aerial ball alongside rival captain Gustavo Gomez and, once the Video Assistant Referee had been consulted, a spot-kick was awarded.
Veigas, scorer of the opening goal in Tuesday’s 2-0 semi-final win against African champions Al Ahly, kept his cool to send the returning Edouard Mendy the wrong way. The majority of the 32,800-plus inside the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium went wild in celebration.
Christian Pulisic, an early substitute for Mason Mount, did have a chance to win it for Chelsea in normal time, but dragged his shot wide following neat build-up play between him and his teammates.
With six minutes of extra-time remaining, Chelsea were given a penalty. Again, VAR was consulted, and Palmeiras defender Luan was deemed to have blocked Cesar Azpilicueta’s shot with his arm.
Havertz, Chelsea’s goal hero in the 2021 Uefa Champions League final, dispatched the penalty into the bottom corner, with Weverton diving the other way. Luan’s misery was then complete when he was handed a straight red card for bringing down Havertz as the German bore down on goal.
With the win, Chelsea extend Europe’s stranglehold on the Club World Cup to the past nine editions. The last non-European team to lift the trophy was Corinthians, who defeated Chelsea a decade ago.