Chelsea edged an impressive Al Hilal to reach the UAE 2021 final
Romelu Lukaku got the only goal, while Kepa produced two huge saves
Chelsea will play Palmeiras for the FIFA Club World Cup trophy
Goals: Romelu Lukaku (32) Alibaba Cloud Match Award: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Monterrey 3-1 Al Jazira
Goals: Zayed Sultan OG (4), Rogelio Funes Mori (11), Cesar Montes (25), Bruno (91). Alibaba Cloud Match Award: Maximiliano Meza (Monterrey).
Flying start Monterrey may have attributed their quarter-final loss to jet lag, but they looked reenergised from the off today. Within 11 minutes they were 2-0 up en route to securing fifth place for the third time in the tournament. The predator Al Hilal may have suffered two strokes of misfortune in the lead-up to the ball falling to Romelu Lukaku inside their six-yard box, but the big Belgian didn’t care and pounced for an opportunistic opener. It was the first goal a Chelsea player had netted in the FIFA Club World Cup since another No9, Fernando Torres, was gifted a stroke of luck to do so against Monterrey in 2012.
Ighalo dazzles Al Hilal’s trophy dream may be over at UAE 2021, but how they must be salivating over what Odion Ighalo may do in their hallowed blue shirt. After a superb debut against Al Jazira, the Nigeria striker tormented Chelsea with his strength and ability to turn, producing two breathtaking flicks along the way. Kepa to the rescue Not once but twice did the Spaniard produce huge save just after the hour. First, Matheus Pereira sent Moussa Marega clean through, but Kepa Arrizabalaga made himself big and denied an equaliser. Then the watching Petr Cech will have been equally impressed as he tipped a Mohamed Kanno strike around the post.
526 Lukaku ended his Chelsea goal drought at 526 minutes. 25 Monterrey’s three goals today moved them on to 25 overall at the FIFA Club World Cup, leapfrogging Barcelona (23) and taking them into second place behind Real Madrid (31). 20 Al Jazira’s Bruno came off the bench to become, at 20, the youngest player to score at the right end at UAE 2021.
Match for third place Al Hilal-Al Ahly Al Nahyan Stadium on Saturday, 5:30pm local time Final Chelsea-Palmeiras Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday, 8:30pm local time