Chelsea set dream final with Monterrey win
Chelsea made light work of hopeful Monterrey, beating the Mexicans 3-1 in the semi-final to set up a FIFA Club World Cup final with Brazilian giants Corinthians. Spaniards Juan Mata and Fernando Torres were both on the scoresheet for the UEFA Champions League holders in what was a one-sided match for the Londoners.
The men from Monterrey looked overawed early on against their big-name European opponents. David Luiz took full advantage of the Mexicans’ discomfort, too. Playing in an advanced role, the Brazilian blasted a shot over the bar after roaring up through midfield inside the first five minutes. The effort didn’t trouble Jonathan Orozco, but it was a hint of things to come from Rafa Benitez’s men.
Seconds later, Luiz freed young sensation Eden Hazard up the left with a lovely through ball. The Belgian failed to curl his right-footed effort inside the post, but the flowing move earned a round of applause from the Yokohama crowd.
Monterrey were well pegged back from the opening whistle, but they managed a pair of corner-kicks in the 12th minute after a useful foray forward from Cesar Delgado, their best player and midfield schemer. Aldo de Nigris managed to get his head to the first set piece, the towering target-man sending a message of his dead-ball ability.
Shortly after the quarter-hour, the goal that Chelsea had been threatening finally came. Young Brazilian starlet Oscar flicked in a back-heel pass on the left side for the foraging Ashley Cole. The England left-back crossed low and excellently for Juan Mata, and the FIFA World Cup™ winner made no mistake with a cool finish from just inside the area.
De Nigris had another chance with his head at the other end before the half-time whistle went, but he failed to steer Jesus Corona’s clever cross from the left on frame. The Mexicans found a burst of confidence in the dying minutes of the half, pushing forward with speed and a modicum of panache.
No way back Any hopes of a Monterrey revival, however, were extinguished with a pair of Chelsea goals in the early seconds of the second half. Hazard caught the Mexican defence cold, rounded his man and crossed low for Fernando Torres, whose shot hit the back of the net after taking a wicked deflection. The game was ended as a contest seconds later, Darvin Chavez hitting Mata’s cross through his own goal to make the score 3-0.
The air went totally out of the CONCACAF side from there on out. Benitez brought on Frank Lampard for Luiz midway through the period, and the England veteran was greeted with a roar from the local and traveling Chelsea fans behind the goal. Lampard’s first shot came just seconds after he entered the game, and it drifted well wide to an appreciative round of applause.
Monterrey grabbed a consolation goal through De Nigris in stoppage time, but there wasn’t to be a miraculous fight-back for the brave Mexicans. Chelsea now move on to the 16 December final and a date with Brazil’s Corinthians, who were sitting in the stands at the International Stadium casting an eye over the Premier League side. Monterrey, for their part, will play the other losing semi-finalists, Al-Ahly of Egypt, earlier in the day in the third-place play-off.