By Isidore Lewis
Tournament favourites Inter Milan beat TP Mazembe of Congo 3-0 in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup to become the first ever Italian side to win five major trophies in a single calendar year.
Two early goals – from Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto’o – and a late strike from Frenchman Jonathan Biabiany sealed victory for Inter, who produced a professional display in which they dominated possession and restricted Mazembe to a limited number of half-chances.
It was Inter’s first trophy under new coach Rafael Benitez, who was under pressure going into the tournament having won just two out of nine games in all competitions since the start of November.
The Italian side took the lead after 12 minutes when Eto’o’s lobbed pass was well-finished by Pandev. And when captain Javier Zanetti’s cut-back was touched on by the Macedonian just minutes later, Eto’o was onhand to drive home Inter’s second of the night.
Inter could have been four up at the break after Argentine Diego Milito missed two golden one-on-one opportunities, both of which were well-saved by Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba.
And in the second half, Inter continued to frustrate the Africans through some good passing, a deep defensive line and plenty of men behind the ball.
With time running out, Mazembe did manage to create one or two chances of their own. Twice in a matter of minutes, Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved well from Dioko Kaluyituka, diving low at the forward’s feet before producing a good reflex save from close range.
But when substitute Jonathan Biabiany scored Inter’s third and final goal in the dying minutes, victory was sealed for the Italians.