Chelsea win first Club World Cup title

Roman Abramovich's men beat Palmeiras 2-1 in Abu Dhabi thanks to a Kai Havertz winner in extra time

Chelsea completed their trophy cabinet under Roman Abramovich's ownership by beating Palmeiras in extra time in the Club World Cup final on Saturday.

Following a cagey first half in Abu Dhabi, Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock on 55 minutes with a header from a Callum Hudson-Odoi cross. 

Nine minutes later, however, the Brazilians won a penalty when Thiago Silva handled a cross while going up for the ball, and Raphael Veiga converted the resulting spot kick. 

As neither side could find a winner in the second half, the tie went to extra time where Chelsea were also given a chance to score from 12 yards out.

This came as a result of Luan mimicking Silva by also blocking with his hand, and Kai Havertz made no mistake when he sent Weverton the wrong way as Abramovich clapped in celebration high up in the stands.

After netting the sole goal in the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto last May, Havertz was once again the hero and Chelsea now boast the final piece of silverware that had eluded them until now.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and captain Cesar Azpilicueta embraced after winning the Club World Cup. © Darren Walsh/ Chelsea FC via Getty Images © Getty Images / Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel returned to the dugout after missing the midweek semifinal against Al-Hilal due to Covid. In a cagey first half, he had to hook injured midfielder Mason Mount for Christian Pulisic around the half-hour mark.

Just before that, Dudu enjoyed Palmeiras' best chance when trying to test Edouard Mendy from distance with a long-range shot. Better passing across the channels and more accurate shooting might have seen the Brazilians enjoy better success in launching counter attacks, as they soaked up pressure and advanced well while roared on by their passionate fans.

Approaching half time, Champions League holders Chelsea finished the stronger of the two outfits with Thiago Silva fancying his chances from 30 yards out but hitting wide. Early in the second half, they finally got it right when Callum Hudson-Odoi knocked over a delightful ball from the left wing for Romelu Lukaku to head home and make it 1-0.

Romelu Lukaku made it 1-0 for Chelsea in the World Club Cup final against Palmeiras. © Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images © Getty Images / Getty Images

Chelsea weren't home and dry, though, with VAR ruling that Silva handballed when going up to head an incoming cross out of the box which resulted in Palmeiras being awarded a penalty. 

Taking his time after the whistle had been blown, Raphael Veiga equalized by drilling into the bottom left corner past Mendy to set up a thrilling final half hour.

This contained chances for each side, with Palmeiras again fancying their chances on the break as Chelsea threaded together slick passing moves that Havertz and Pulisic couldn't grant the finishes they deserved.

With a quarter of an hour to spare, both sides made double substitutions with Tuchel introducing Saul Niguez and Timo Werner at the expense of Hudson-Odoi and Lukaku. But as neither side could find a winner, the tie went to extra time. 

It was there that Havertz was the man of the hour, with Luan's misery compounded by being red-carded in the closing minutes, and the German later described the feeling of winning as "amazing".

Kai Havertz won the Club World Cup final for Chelsea by scoring an extra time penalty. © Matthew Ashton-AMA / FIFA via Getty Images © Getty Images / Getty Images

"After [becoming] champions of Europe, we are now champions of the world. It sounds better," Havertz said to Channel 4 in the UK.

"I was nervous [taking the penalty], I have to be honest. It's a big penalty. It's just crazy. It was good I kept the nerves. I am very happy.

"I was the third penalty taker but I was the only one left on the pitch," Havertz pointed out.

"My teammates gave me trust. I dreamed always as a kid of this. This is an amazing feeling for me," the youngster finished.

"It never stops. We want to keep on winning trophies," declared Havertz's compatriot coach Tuchel, as Chelsea uploaded a celebratory post to social media with the caption "We've won it all".

"In the end if you score late you need luck to do it but we were relentless and we did not stop trying. We did not give in. We had the lead then lost it but never stopped. It was deserved but [it's] also lucky when you score late," Tuchel went on.

"The penalty does not look nervous [from Havertz] but for sure he was. You can't not be nervous in this situation. We trusted the statistics and I'm happy for him."

Asked how it felt to make history with Chelsea and complete their trophy cabinet, Tuchel said: "I'm a part of it and I'm happy to have the chance. We said before in the dressing room 'what an opportunity'.

"We all dream to have finals like this. There is no regrets. There are still things to win and it never stops," he concluded.

With Chelsea set to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final in just over a fortnight, Tuchel has a point. Before then, there is also a Champions League last 16 double date with Lille to negotiate while going all the way again in Europe's premier cup competition for the second successive time would have them back in Abu Dhabi a year from now to try and become world rulers yet again.

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