AC Milan beat Boca Juniors 4-2 today to become the first European winners of the FIFA Club World Cup. A double from Filippo Inzaghi and goals from Alessandro Nesta and Kaka earned the Italians a deserved victory at the International Stadium in Yokohama, where a sell-out crowd was treated to a fitting climax to a thrilling tournament.
It took Carlo Ancelotti's side 21 minutes to make the breakthrough. Kaka drove at the Boca defence and after his shot was blocked, he instinctively and superbly drove the ball into the path of Inzaghi, who did not require a second invitation to slot the ball home from six yards. From the restart, though, Boca quickly moved the ball up the other end and Rodrigo Palacio nodded home to level the scores.
Play resumed at a frenetic pace following the interval and within five minutes, Nesta's stunning volley restored Milan's advantage. A couple of menacing runs from the lively Kaka threatened to add to their lead, while only the post denied Hugo Ibarra a superb, long-range equaliser.
With Kaka in inspirational form, though, Milan began to dominate proceedings and it was the Brazilian who made it 3-1 just after the hour mark, slotting through the goalkeeper's legs from a tight angle after a purposeful charge down the left flank. The 25-year-old, a candidate to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award at tomorrow's Gala, then supplied a second goal for Inzaghi in the 71st minute.
Pablo Ledesma reduced the deficit with time running out, but the day belonged to AC Milan, who succeeded where the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United (both 2000), Liverpool (2005) and Barcelona (2006) had failed.