Chelsea will meet Brazilian side Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final after beating Al-Hilal at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi 1-0. The only goal came from Romelu Lukaku in the first half of the game. The Blues will now look to lift the only trophy that has evaded them across Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the club.
Chelsea Beat Al-Hilal to Book Final Ticket of Fifa Club World Cup
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel missed the game as he was isolated after testing positive for Covid-19. Chelsea dominated from the start against the Saudi Arabian side, and their breakthrough came from Lukaku just after the half-hour mark. Kai Havertz’s left-wing cross was inadvertently headed into the Belgian’s path by Yasser Al Shahrani, and he rifled home from point-blank range.
It was their most expensive striker Lukaku’s ninth goal of the season and ended a six-game goal drought after he missed a couple of opportunities earlier in the match. Two minutes after the break, Havertz burst through on goal and clipped the post from a tight angle, despite having Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech for support in the area.
Asian champions Al-Hilal barely threatened until Mohamed Kanno shot over from distance after combining well with former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira. Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was called into action by the shot and he did well to deny Moussa Marega from eight yards out, while Odion Ighalo and Kanno saw shots blocked as Chelsea struggled to put the game to bed.
But the European champions held on in the end and, in Saturday’s final, will have the chance to avenge defeat in this competition a decade after their last appearance.