On this day, 18 December 2010 (Exactly 9 years ago today), FC Internarnazional Milano secured their second trophy under coach Rafael Benitez with an easy victory over Congolese side TP Mazembe to win the Club World Cup at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium.
Two goals in the space of four first half minutes put paid to the gallant African champions, with Goran Pandev and Samuel Eto’o’s clinical strikes providing the foundation for a victory that was later sealed by substitute Jonathan Biabiany.
Mazembe, for all their boundless energy, were ultimately outclassed, and yet they did succeed in making an assured start to this match, even providing the first noteworthy effort when Miala Nkulukuta’s long-range shot flashed over Julio Cesar’s crossbar with ten minutes on the clock.
That their hopes were all but dashed seven minutes later was a tribute to Inter’s ruthlessness, with the Italians – as they had in the semi-final – breaking the deadlock with their first attack worthy of the description.
Goran Pandev was the player to find the net, stabbing left-footed into the bottom corner after Samuel Eto’o had split the Mazembe defence, cushioning a delightful volleyed pass into the Macedonian’s path. A goal down after just 14 minutes, the Congolese desperately needed to steady their nerves; instead, they found themselves two down just three minutes later.
TP Mazembe Englebert: Kidiaba, Kaliyutuka (Ndonga 89), Kimwaki, Kasusula, Nkulukuta, Kabangu, Bedi, Mihayo, Ekanga, Kasongo (Kanda 46), Singuluma.
Manager: Lamine N’Diaye
Inter Milan: Julio Cesar, Chivu (Stankovic 54), Maicon, Cordoba, Zanetti, Lucio, Motta (Mariga 87), Cambiasso, Eto’o, Milito (Biabiany 70), Pandev.
Manager: Rafael Benitex
On this day 18 December 2011 (Exactly 8 years ago today) FC Barcelona were crowned Fifa Club World Cup winners when they thrashed Brazilian side Santos 4-0 in Japan.
The win capped a remarkable year for the Spanish side in which they also won the La Liga title, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup.
The magnificent Lionel Messi scored twice, while Xavi and Cesc Fabregas were also on target as the European champions delivered a veritable football masterclass to register the biggest final win in FIFA Club World Cup history.
And the scoreline, lopsided as it was, did not in any way flatter a Barça side who produced some breathtaking football en route to reaffirming their status as the world’s foremost footballing force
We played a complete game,” captain Carles Puyol said. “It was a good game, an intense game and we’re very happy with the result.”
The match between the European and South American champions in Yokohama had been billed as a showdown between Messi, widely acknowledged as the best player in the world, and 19-year-old Brazilian star Neymar, who has been linked with a transfer to both Barca and Real Madrid.
But it was no contest – with Messi the star of match – and named the tournament’s most valuable player – as Barcelona won the competition for the second time in three seasons.
His first goal was an exquisite chip and his second saw him skilfully round the Santos keeper Cabral.
FC Barcelona: Victor Valdes, Carles Puyol(Andreu Fontas 85), Gerard Pique (Javier Muscherano 56), Eric Abidal, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Dani Alves, Thiago(Pedro 79), Lionel Messi
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Santos: Rafael, Bruno Rodrigo,Edu Bracena, Durval, Leo, Danilo (Elano 31), Henrique, Arouca, Ganso (Inson 83), Neymar, Borges (Alan Kardec 79)
Manager: Muricy Ramalho
On this day 18 December 2016 (Exactly 3 years ago today) Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick as Real Madrid claimed their second FIFA Club World Cup crown after defeating J.League champions Kashima Antlers in extra-time at the International Stadium Yokohama
Real took the lead in the ninth minute through Karim Benzema, but Gaku Shibasaki scored either side of half-time to put Kashima in front.
Ronaldo levelled from the penalty spot on the hour mark after Lucas Vazquez was fouled by Shuto Yamamoto.
The Ballon d’Or winner put his side ahead in extra time after being played through by Benzema, and completed his hat-trick seven minutes later.
Victory gave Real their second Club World Cup and extended their unbeaten run to 37 games in all competitions.
The UEFA Champions League winners looked set for a comfortable afternoon when Benzema put them ahead, and they dominated possession in the opening stages.
But Kashima – the first Japanese team to reach a Club World Cup final – impressed in an entertaining game, and Shibasaki took both goals well.
Indeed, after Ronaldo’s equalising penalty, Kashima had the better chances late in normal time.
First Keylor Navas saved a long-range strike from Fabricio, then Yasushi Endo shot wide at the back post with the final kick of the 90 minutes. At 3-2 down, Yuma Suzuki hit the bar with a header.
The Japanese side also felt Real captain Sergio Ramos should have been sent off in normal time when he appeared to body-check an opponent when on a yellow card.
Referees used video replays to review several decisions during the competition, but Janny Sikazwe chose not take a second look at this incident.
“The referee lacked courage, which was regrettable,” said Kashima coach Masatada Ishii.
World’s best becomes world champion
Victory for Ronaldo capped an impressive year for the forward, coming six days after he won the Ballon d’Or, awarded to the world’s best player.
He scored the winning penalty in Real’s Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid in May, before captaining Portugal to Euro 2016 success in the summer.
His hat-trick in Yokohama was the first in a Club World Cup final.
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Rafael Varane, Sergio Ramos (Nacho 108), Marcelo, Luka Modric (Mateo Kovacic 106), Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Lucas Vasquez (Isco 81), Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo (Alvaro Morata 112)
Manager: Zinedine Zidane
Kashima Antlers: Hitoshi Sogahata, Daigo Nishi, Naomichi Yeda, Gen Shoji, Shuto Yamtomato, Yasushi Endo(Yukutoshi Ito 102), Gaku Shibasaki, Mitsuo Ogasawara (Fabricio 67), Ryota Nagaki (Shuhei Akasaki 114), My Kanazaki, Shoma Doi (Yuma Suzuki 88)
Manager: Masatada Ishii
On this day 18 December 1956 (Exactly 63 years ago today) Blackpool and England winger Stanley Matthews won the inaugural Ballon d’Or Award for best football player in Europe; beat Real Madrid pair Alfredo Di Stéfano and Raymond Kopa
On this day 18 December 2001 (Exactly 18 years ago today) Liverpool forward Michael Owen was named as the winner of the Ballon d’Or Award for the best football player in Europe ahead of Real Madrid striker Raúl and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn
Owen was the fourth English national to win the award after Stanley Matthews (1956), Bobby Charlton (1966) and Kevin Keegan (1978, 1979). He was also the first Liverpool player to win the trophy.
On this day 18 December 2018 (Exactly a year ago today) Manchester United sack high profile Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho. United were in 6th place in EPL, 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed as new caretaker manager.
On this day 18 December 1987 (Exactly 32 years ago today) Egyptian giants Al Ahly won their second African Cup of Champions’ Clubs (now Champions League) after beating Al-Hial of Sudan 2-0 at the Cairo International Stadium.
Ayman Shawki & Own Goal (Gamal El-Thaalab)
Ahly Line up: Ahmed Shobair / Ibrahim Hassan / Mahmoud Saleh / Hamada Sedki / Rabei Yasin / Hamdi Abou Radi (Mahmoud El-Khateeb) / Alaa Mayhoub / Taher Abouzaid / Osama Orabi (Mohamed Saad) / Ayman Shawki / Hossam Hassan.
STORIES: GEORGE MAHAMAH