Sport Club Internacional have ended a disappointing FIFA Club World Cup campaign on a high by securing third place with a resounding 4-2 win over Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC. Alecsandro was the South Koreans’ tormentor-in-chief, scoring two and setting up another, while Tinga and Andres D’Alessandro were also on target for the South Americans, with Mauricio Molina grabbing the Koreans’ late consolation efforts.
While Inter eventually won with some style, both sides began tentatively, with Internacional receiving a frosty reception from their own large travelling support. Those same fans were cheering after 15 minutes, however, when the Brazilians took the lead with the first chance of the match. Alecsandro created it, spinning his marker on the right flank and looping in a cross to the edge of the six-yard box, where Tinga charged in to head through the legs of Jung Sung-Ryong.
Seongnam generally offered little going forward, but Mauricio Molina did come within a few centimetres of providing the Koreans with an instant reply, crashing in a first time left-foot shot that Renan just managed to tip on to the crossbar. However, play soon focused around the other goal and with 27 minutes played, Inter doubled their advantage when a flowing move down the right flank culminated in Andres D’Alessandro teed up Alecsandro for a precise side-foot finish from 16 yards.
The goal brought sweet relief for the under-fire striker, and with the fans now behind him, he might have scored again a couple of minutes later, smashing narrowly over from close range. Already second-best to their increasingly confident Brazilian rivals, Seongnam were damaged yet further with 11 minutes of the first half remaining when Jang Suk-Won earned a second yellow card for a cynical body-check on Tinga. And their evening went from bad to worse five minutes later when Dzenan Radoncic, himself on as a substitute, had to be replaced after injuring a knee in the act of shooting on goal.
A tournament that had begun so positively for the Chunma was ending in disastrous fashion, and they were powerless to prevent Inter moving 3-0 in front seven minutes into the second half. The goal was the pick of Inter’s four, and it was scored by Andres D’Alessandro, who atoned for a subdued showing against TP Mazember by curling a left-foot shot in off the post from all of 25 yards.
The Brazilians were cruising by this stage, and with Jung having pulled off a string of fine saves to deny the likes Rafael Sobis and Tinga, it was no surprise when a fourth goal arrived with 19 minutes remaining. Nei was the architect on this occasion, delivering an inviting low cross that was deflected perfectly for Alecsandro to side-foot home at the back post for his second and Inter’s fourth.
So comfortable were Inter that they even brought on Roberto Abbondanzieri for a final appearance ahead of his impending retirement, although the veteran keeper was not able to bid farewell with a clean sheet. The man who ensured that was Mauricio Molina, who sprung the Inter offside trap before clipping the ball over the advancing Abbondanzieri and in off the right-hand post. The Colombian proceeded to cap a fine personal tournament with a second three minutes into injury time, side-footing home Cho Dong-Geon’s low cross to leave Seongnam with some consolation at the end of a generally one-sided match.