YOKOHAMA – Paolo Guerrero headed home a 69th-minute winner to crown Corinthians world champions for the second time with a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.
Corinthians went into the match overshadowed by Chelsea’s star names but backed by a huge support that dominated the 68, 275 crowd at Nissan Stadium, and both teams gave as good as they got in a lively end-to-end encounter that produced several goalscoring chances.
But Peruvian striker Guerrero was the only player who could find the target, heading home a deflection to return the trophy to Corinthians 12 years after they first won it and giving South America the title for the first time since 2006.
“It was always going to be a tough game,” said Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. “They are a very good team but we have come away with the bad feeling that we had chances to win it.
“They are very organized. Brazilian teams can be like that in club football. We knew what they were going to bring, but it’s disappointing to come here and not win it.”
Corinthians’ formidable support made itself heard as the game began, but it was Chelsea that created the first scoring chance when defender Gary Cahill’s header forced goalkeeper Cassio into a tremendous save on the goal line.
David Luiz wasted a free kick from a good position as Chelsea continued to probe, but Corinthians’ breaks on the counterattack were a constant threat and Emerson almost gave the Brazilians the lead when Guerrero put him through in the 29th minute.
Guerrero again fed Emerson only for the striker to hit the outside of the post, before Chelsea’s Fernando Torres showed sublime skill to take down a long pass from Frank Lampard before Cassio got down to smother his shot.
The goalkeeper excelled himself again minutes later to deny Victor Moses with a fingertip save, and Chelsea started the second half in the same attacking vein as Eden Hazard went close shortly after the restart.
Paulinho flashed a drive wide of the post in response for Corinthians, and it was a warning that Chelsea failed to heed as Guerrero popped up to head the Brazilians in front. Danilo latched onto the ball in the box before firing off a shot that cannoned up off the Chelsea defense, and Guerrero reacted quickest to nod it home and send the Corinthians supporters into frenzied celebration.
Cahill was then sent off for a foul on Emerson in the 90th minute, and a disallowed Torres goal in injury time finally ended Chelsea’s hopes of capturing the title for the first time.
“Now we have to go and win a run of games in the league,” said Lampard. “We really have to keep pushing on with everything.”
Mexico’s Monterrey took third place in the tournament, beating Al-Ahly of Egypt 2-0 in a playoff earlier in the day.
Stevens leaves Schalke
Schalke parted ways with coach Huub Stevens on Sunday after a run of six Bundesliga games without a win.
Stevens agreed to leave “by mutual consent” following talks with management in the morning, the Gelsenkirchen-based club said on its website.
Stevens’ job was on the line following Saturday’s 3-1 league loss at home to Freiburg, extending an alarming run that saw the side slip from second to seventh within a month.
“It’s not a good situation. Our expectations are coming up short,” Schalke general manager Horst Heldt said after the game.
Assistant coach Markus Gisdol was also released with immediate effect.
Schalke’s under-17 team coach Jens Keller took charge of Sunday’s training session and will lead the side against Mainz in Tuesday’s German Cup game on Tuesday.
Schalke said the decision to release the 59-year-old Stevens, who was in his second stint at the club, was “anything but easy.”
In the Dutchman’s first stint, from 1996 to 2002, Schalke won the 1997 UEFA Cup, the German Cup in 2001 and 2002, and just missed out on the Bundesliga title in 2001.