The UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC have progressed to the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup after seeing off AFC champions Al Hilal 1-0 at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Belgian international Romelu Lukaku’s solidarity goal was enough to see the English side reach their second finals of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup since their debut in 2012.
Former Manchester United forward liner Odion Ighalo, right from the blow of the whistle, was set up by Pereiara, who shunted over but struck a speculative shot wide of Kepa’s post.
The English side pushed more men forward when the Saudis were firing shots from strange angles. The captain of the side set Lukaku on side in the early minutes of the game but mistimed his shot, missing a great opportunity to put the UEFA Champions forward
Hilal appeared more threatening when they reached the halfway line after weathering an early onslaught from Chelsea, but the Blues maintained their defensive lines tight.
In the 32nd minute, the game’s stalemate was broken by Romelu Lukaku, who scored from a few yards beyond the box after a cross from Havertz. Both teams had their top players on the field, but the Blues were the better team at halftime, leading 1-0.
Hilal kicked off the second half with a good start but their fine efforts were in vain when Kano tried his luck from 25 yards. Kepa Arrizabalaga denied Hilal from tying up the game in 63rd minutes with a great diversion off the post after a drill from Pereira.
The Saudi side were firmly back in the arm wrestle of the game; Ighalo fired a shot into the back of Rudiger but the second armored curl that was totally on tipped Kepa’s post. Pereria in the 70th minutes couldn’t capitalized on a loose ball with little drilled effort going out of side.
Morrocan Hakim Zyech was Chelsea’s most productive player on the field, making all the fantastic runs. Out of a total four shots played, two were on target together with nine crosses, the most by any Chelsea player in the game.
The UEFA Champions League winners have now made the finals of the FIFA Club World Cup at 17 of the previous 18 editions of the tournament, with Manchester United in 2000 being such side to fail reach the competition’s showcase.
The Blues held to Lukaku’s goal to qualify for the finals scheduled for Saturday against Palmerias.