Bayern beat Raja to win Club World Cup, 5th trophy

Bayern Munich capped the greatest year in club history by

beating Raja Casablanca 2-0 to win its third Club World Cup on

Saturday.

The European champions added a record fifth title to their

trophy cabinet at the tournament of continental champions to go

with the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup, and European

Super Cup triumphs in 2013.

Dante scored early to deflate the Moroccan hosts at Marrakech

Stadium, and Thiago Alcantara put the Bavarian side in command with

his 22nd-minute goal.

Unheralded Raja, which beat Copa Libertadores champion Atletico

Mineiro in the semifinals, used its speed on the break and came

close to scoring but ultimately couldn’t keep up with the German

champions.

”I think we knew how to approach each game and that was key,”

said coach Pep Guardiola, who won the event for the third time,

including twice before with Barcelona. ”The first 25 minutes we

played very well. After that we forgot to attack.”

Bayern won the first of two Intercontinental Cups – the

forerunner to this event – exactly 37 years ago on Saturday.

With King Mohammed VI of Morocco amid the majority of 37,747

spectators cheering for Raja, the Moroccan club just couldn’t

muster enough to break through against Bayern’s deep squad of

internationals.

Guardiola made three changes to the team that dismissed

Guangzhou Evergrande of China 3-0 in the semifinals, with Dante

replacing slow-footed central defender Daniel van Buyten to pace

Raja’s speedy forwards, who were especially dangerous on the

counter.

Dante made an immediate impact as the Brazil international

gathered teammate Jerome Boateng’s headed corner inside the box to

blast it past helpless goalkeeper Khalid Askri seven minutes after

the start.

Raja’s defense erred by playing Dante onside to score, and it

was again scrambling in the 22nd as David Alaba laid a pass onto

Thiago’s run into the area to sidefoot a powerful shot beyond

Askri.

Raja coach Faouzi Benzarti bemoaned the team’s having to play

four games to Bayern’s two, leaving them fatigued, and nerves also

played a factor with the King in attendance.

”It is the greatest team in the world with the greatest coach.

We believed in our means but we were not lucky today,” said

Benzarti, who guided the club in its second appearance of the

competition and first since 2000. ”We were not aggressive enough.

And we were playing giants.”

With the crowd – and a nation, really – behind them, the hosts

did not wilt and came close to breaking through.

Forward Mouhssine Iajour, who was instrumental in the upset of

Atletico, had several opportunities as Raja found space on the

break, and Abdellah Hafidi got an unlucky bounce in the 38th as he

nearly caught goalkeeper Manuel Neuer out after a poor

clearance.

As Bayern slacked, Raja pressed with Neuer making several saves

against a team without a single Morocco international before

Mohsine Moutaouli sent his shot high over the empty goal near the

close.

Guardiola, who replaced Jupp Heynckes in the summer following

the first three title wins, improved his overall record to 6-1 in

one-game finals while earning his 16th trophy since beginning his

coaching career in 2008.

”This title belongs to Jupp. I just tried to keep alive

everything he did,” Guardiola said. ”You can’t compare these

triumphs, they’re all different.”

Earlier, 10-man Atletico beat Asian champion Guangzhou 3-2 to

finish third. Luan scored a stoppage time winner following

Ronaldinho’s 88th-minute red card.

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