With a 1-0 victory over Al Hilal tonight, Chelsea made it to the Club World Cup final.
Thomas Tuchel’s team, who were missing their coach due to a positive coronavirus test, were in command from the start and should never have been in danger of becoming the first European winners to lose in the final since Manchester United in 2000.
However, sloppy play in the final third, both when shooting and passing the ball, ensured Romelu Lukaku’s first-half strike was their only goal, and Kepa Arrizabalaga had to step up at the other end.
Al Hilal, the Asian champions who had scored six against Al Jazira in the previous round, stayed in the game until the last whistle but were unable to find a way to prevent Chelsea from progressing to the final against Palmeiras on Saturday.
Lukaku had been frustrated in his search for a first goal in over a month, regularly taking up enticing positions but failing to find the final touch.
On 32 minutes, though, Chelsea’s record signing could not miss as Kai Havertz’s cross deflected off an unwary defender, Yasser Al-Shahrani, into the six-yard box, allowing the striker to slam into the net right-footed.
Havertz came close to scoring himself at the opening of the second half, beating Abdullah Al-Mayoof from a tight angle after a fantastic run down the left, only for the ball to bounce back out against the near post.
With Al Hilal still down by one goal, Kepa was called upon twice to save Chelsea, rushing from his line to block Moussa Marega and then making a spectacular save from Mohamed Kanno.
Following an extended period of pressure, Chelsea held on to give themselves a second chance at winning the Club World Cup after failing to do so in 2012.
After Al Hilal’s third-place play-off against Al Ahly, Chelsea will face Palmeiras for the title on Saturday.
Source: Livescore news