Chelsea can finally call themselves the champions of the world. Nine years after they lost to the Corinthians in the final of the competition, they were determined to make history and the celebrations rejoiced when the full-time whistles sounded and they ended their long wait to win the only trophy they had won. was thrown out. Roman Abramovich era.
Maybe this was to be the case. It looked like Chelsea would need a penalty shootout before Kai Havertz, who scored the only goal when Thomas Tuchel’s side won the Champions League, stepped up to make history with three minutes left. Cesar Azpilicueta, the first Chelsea player to win each club trophy, won a penalty and Havertz was restless from the spot, eventually ending Palmeiras’ strong resistance.
Chelsea led Romelu Lukaku’s goal, only for Rafael Veiga to accept a penalty. Palmeiras, who finished with 10 men after a late red card from Luan, gave it everything to become world champions for the first time. It was an opportunity to savor it, even if FIFA’s official cheerleaders wouldn’t be impressed by their wasted efforts to placate the Brazilian’s day with some strange pre-match entertainment.
Memo to Gianni Infantino: Palmeiras’ 15,000 supporters didn’t need help creating the atmosphere. The noise was deafening long before kick-off, most of the grounds were decked out in green and white, and it initially looked like Chelsea were trying to pull Sting, hoarding them and taking some risks to calm the crowd. appears to do. ball.
However, as the opening round progressed, it seemed as though Chelsea were being too humble. Tuchel, who was on the touchline after flying to Abu Dhabi on Friday, did not see enough urgency. He took no chances, disappointing Kepa Arrizabalaga by starting Edouard Mendy in goal, but Chelsea were unconcerned. His set-pieces were poor and there was too much vanity in the final third, with Havertz releasing Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 25th minute.
The attacks felt compelled. With Lukaku remaining isolated against Gustavo Gómez and Luann, Chelsea’s efforts to break the Copa Libertadores champions were little cohesive. Thiago Silva saw a long-range effort narrowly wide on a save by Weverton and Antonio Rudiger, but a goal was rarely seen and a sense of foreboding grew when Mason Mount was forced to make way for Christian Pulisic in the 31st minute. fell.
Palmeiras, who had been well drilled by their Portuguese manager, would have taken confidence by limping off Mason Mount. Compact in their low block, they were up in the game. Ze Rafael was energetic in midfield and Palmeiras was dangerous as he advanced, with Dudu making his best effort of the half when he fired from 20 yards.
Dudu was showing a lot of desire. The striker channeled and he was unlucky with his second chance, Zee Raphael’s undercooked pass forced him to pull a shot wide as Andreas Christensen closed it.
Chelsea was also open. Christensen would also have to make a crucial intervention when Ze Rafael burst to the left and Tuchel may not have had many things to say to his players during the interval.
With Abramovich in the stands, Chelsea needed to improve. He had to show more readiness and the signs were encouraging at the start of the second half, with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic offering more balance in the middle and Hudson-Odoi moving from left-back.
It looked like Chelsea had realized they were allowed to use their wide players. They began to spread Palmeiras and this change soon brought a bounty. Hudson-Odoi reached the byline before crossing with his left foot – his weak side – and Lukaku, who was crying out for that kind of serve, sent a surprise header near Weverton after threatening Luann in the air. .
Certainly the natural order had asserted itself. The £97.5m striker from Chelsea had shown his class and for a brief moment it looked like Palmeiras, who had given so much to the defensive effort, was out of confidence.
Soon, however, his fans roared again. Chelsea, usually on the road on these nights, was caught by the simplest of tricks. A long throw in the 62nd minute was enough to create panic and it was difficult to know what Silva was complaining about when Scott Beeth pointed to the spot after consulting the VAR monitor. The Brazilian defender took over clearly as he challenged Gomez and Chelsea were back to square one when Viga calmly sent Mendy the wrong way from 12 yards.
In contrast, Palmeiras began to dream. Veiga, a nimble No 10, tested Mendy from the edge of the field, and Chelsea’s frustration grew when Pulisic fired a shot inches wide from the edge of the field.
Desperate for a spark, Tuchel made some curious changes. The early goalscorers came out, with Lukaku and Hudson-Odoi making way for Timo Werner and Saul Niguez, but Chelsea had been predictable by the end of normal time.
Tuchel kept on tweaking. Malang Sarr and Hakim Ziyach’s starts for Christensen and Kovacic saw Chelsea cut a 3-4-2-1 gap for 4-2-4, but there was no sign of success during the first half of extra time.
The Palmeiras were defending valiantly and Chelsea became irritable, Pulisic and Ziyech at odds with each other as half-time approached.
Still the pressure mounted and Chelsea broke down when another VAR investigation confirmed that Azpilicueta’s volley was controlled by Luan, who was shown the yellow card.
Palmeiras players were heartbroken. Havertz stepped in to remove the penalty and Chelsea, who have already won three trophies under Tuchel’s brief management, made history.