Inter beats Mazembe 3-0 to win Club World Cup
Inter Milan won the Club World Cup with a comfortable 3-0
victory over TP Mazembe in the final on Saturday to end the
surprising run of the African champions.
The European champions jumped out to 2-0 within the first 20
minutes then cruised to their fifth title of the year and second
for coach Rafa Benitez.
”It was not an easy game because everyone was putting pressure
on us that we had to win and do it well. Some of the football
players were tired,” Benitez said. ”But we wanted to do well and
we trusted we could do it. We wanted to win and we did it.”
The victory gave Benitez vindication to attack an alleged lack
of support from Inter officials amid widespread speculation in the
Italian media of his firing and possible replacements, including
England manager Fabio Capello who was at the match. Club president
Massimo Moratti gave Benitez an ultimatum to win the Club World
Cup, and armed with the FIFA title, the visibly relieved coach hit
He said he held a meeting before and after the final with
Moratti and demanded Inter buy ”three or four more players” in
order to salvage their season. If not, he said he envisioned either
muddling through the season or ”consulting a lawyer.”
”From my side, there is no problem,” Benitez said. ”I am very
happy. I’m a professional who works 100 percent for the club. I
want the support which I haven’t gotten so far. That’s all. If we
have new players, I’m sure the club will improve
Inter captured its third world club title following success in
1964 and ’65. It added to this year’s historic treble of the
Italian league, cup, and Champions League under Jose Mourinho, plus
the Italian Supercup to start this season.
Inter players said the Club World Cup capped ”an amazing year”
and many singled out Mourinho, rather than Benitez, for the team’s
”It was a truly extraordinary and unforgettable year. Let’s
hope everyone remains fit for the rest of the season,” striker
Diego Milito said. ”It is thanks to Mourinho that we were able to
arrive to this point. He remains important to us.”
Captain Javier Zanetti, on the team’s website, said ”no Italian
team has ever done what Inter have managed in 2010 and all the
Inter fans should be proud of this side.”
”Now this team can fight it out against anybody, when it is at
full strength,” he said. ”Only (Walter) Samuel is missing and we
dedicate this evening’s trophy to him.”
Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o chipped a pass to forward Goran
Pandev, who opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Eto’o add the
second himself four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball in
the area and slotted it home. He rushed to the sideline for a
celebratory dance with teammates.
Eto’o, who was named player of the tournament, bagged his 19th
goal in 23 games for Inter and his first since Nov. 21.
The scoreline could been even higher in the first half, if not
for the exploits of Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba, who twice
denied Milito at close range.
Mazembe, which upset Pachuca of Mexico in the quarterfinals and
Copa Libertadores champion Internacional of Brazil in the
semifinals to become the first African side to reach the final,
looked rattled from the start.
The team from Congo was unable to break down the Inter defense
and several players became visibly frustrated, picking up yellow
cards. One comical scene featured midfielder Amia Ekanga clearly
diving in the area in an attempt to get a penalty, then jumping up
and running straight into an Inter player. He fell to the ground
clutching his face, a show that got him the team’s third yellow of
Coach Lamine N’Diaye, a former Senegalese footballer who took
over the team midway through its African Champions League campaign,
said Mazembe simply ran out of gas in the final and committed too
many mental mistakes.
”I am sad for this loss. We were planning to have a better
match,” he said. ”We committed many mistakes tactically in the
beginning of the match which cost us two goals. The team was tired
and exhausted. We needed one more day for rest to retain our
fitness. Inter was better than us and they deserved to win.”
Even so, the team was praised across Africa for drawing
attention to football on the continent which has already seen its
stock rise following the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Ghana
nearly made it to the semifinals.
”This shows the development of the level that African club
football has reached,” said Musa Amadu, acting secretary general
of the Nigerian Football Federation. ”It shows that African clubs
and African players even in Africa can stand against their
counterparts anywhere in the world if they are given sufficient
Mazembe stepped up its attack in the second half, earning its
first real chance in the 63rd when captain Kazembe Mihayo had a
shot cleared by keeper Julio Cesar. Striker Dioko Kaluyituka had
several chances, including a header right at Cesar. Then he
attempted to chip a cross over Cesar, who managed to clear it just
ahead of the rushing Amia Ekanga.
With time running out, Inter made one last push. Substitute
Jonathan Biabiany brought down a pass in the area with his left
foot, shifted it to his right and coolly pushed it past Kidiaba in
Benitez said Inter could still salvage the season. Though the
defending Serie A champion was struggling at seventh in the
standings, Benitez said the right influx of players from the
transfer market next month could be the boost the team needs.
Benitez said he had several players in mind but refused to name
them for fear their price on the market would go up. But he was
clear that the additions to his injury-hit squad – which also
contains 15 players over 30 – could give Inter a chance to repeat
the success it had under Mourinho.
”Everything is possible. We have three trophies to play for,”
Benitez said. ”The league will be more difficult but if we have
players we can win some games in a row. In the cup, the Champions
League, you never know.”
In the third-place match, Internacional beat 10-man Seongnam
Ilhwa of South Korea 4-2.