There were tears of joy in the stands of the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday evening as TP Mazembe of Congo pulled off a shock victory over South American champions Internacional to secure their place in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
Inter were punished for their wastefulness in front of goal as Mazembe stunned the Brazilian side with two brilliantly taken second-half goals, first from Mulota Kabangu and, later, from Dioko Kaluyituka. The Congo side will now play either Inter milan of Italy or Seongnam Ilhwa of Korea in Saturday’s final.
Indeed, it was Inter who had the better of the first-half.
Having dominated posession early on, the Brazilians very nearly took the lead when Rafael Sobis sent a free-kick just over the bar. And just minutes later, Inter had arguably the chance of the game when Alecsandro’s low cross from the left found Sobis free in the area, but his instinctive shot was well saved by goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba.
From the resulting ball out, Mazembe launched a counter attack, but Kabangu’s long-range drive was punched clear by Inter goalkeeper Renan.
As the half went on, the pace of Mazembe continued to cause problems for Inter. Kabangu (through the middle) and Kaluyituka (on the left) in particular looked sharp, and it was fitting that they would both eventually be on the scoresheet come the end of the game.
Inter, though, had their chances. Indio headed a deep free-kick back across goal, only for the ball to eventually pass through for a goal-kick; and Tinga headed Nei’s cross just over the bar.
Shortly before half-time, Inter threatened once again. This time, Alecsandro had his shot blocked after a good pass from Tinga; and Wilson Mathias also had a chance but his acrobatic volley was directed over the bar.
Mazembe started the second half brightly and when Kabangu eventually scored through a neat turn and volley just inside the area, the upset looked on for the Congolese.
Inter did have chances to get themselves back in the game. D’Alessandro’s fine cross was headed over by Sobis and, later, subsititue Giuliano forced Kidiaba into another good save.
With five minutes to go, however, Mazembe put the game beyond reach after Kaluyituka scored a wonderful goal, cutting in from the right and drilling a low shot past Renan to seal an historic victory for the Congo side.