Palmeiras almost took things to the wire but Chelsea’s season of trophies continued with a 2-1 FIFA Club World Cup victory over South American champs in extra time. Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz found the back of the net to ensure that Chelsea became not only Champions of Europe, but champions of the world. Luan had a match to forget conceding the winning penalty to Havertz and getting sent off in the closing seconds but Palmeiras overall had a match to be proud of.
Chelsea’s patient attack wasn’t able to cut through Palmeiras’ soaked-up pressure in the first half. Thomas Tuchel struggled to get Chelsea to tick in a back three and this match started no differently as the balance between being solid defensively and expansive on the offensive end has been a hard one to strike. But eventually, the Blues would get it going.
Callum Hudson-Odoi had Chelsea’s first real chance but the Palmeiras defense were able to close him down and make things easy for Weverton in net. Dudu and Raphael Veiga caused Chelsea some issues with their crosses during the match but the Blues were stout on the defensive end to keep things where they were.
While Romelu Lukaku didn’t contribute much early due to being starved for service, he did draw a foul to give Mason Mount a free-kick chance in a dangerous position. Mount wasted the chance and sent his shot wide which led to Dudu forcing Edouard Mendy into his first chance of the game.
There would be worry for Chelsea as Mount had to be withdrawn due to an injury and replaced by Christian Pulisic in the 31st minute. His minutes were already being managed due to a prior injury in Chelsea’s FA Cup win against Plymouth Argyle but Tuchel felt that he was good to start this one. Pulisic became the first American to make an appearance in the Club World Cup and the first to win it. This was his first Chelsea cameo after unthawing from international duty for the United States men’s national team.
Lukaku would turn things around in the second half scoring a goal in the 54th minute from a good team goal. Kovacic played in Hudson-Odoi who put the ball on a plate. Everyone rose but Lukaku rose highest to score his second goal of the Club World Cup and put Chelsea in the driver’s seat.
Palmeiras wouldn’t lie down though as the pressure that they created led to a Dudu chance that caused a penalty. Thiago Silva’s handball initially wasn’t called but after consulting VAR, the referee gave a penalty and Veiga wouldn’t waste his chance to bring the Verdão level.
They would receive a blow as Veiga had to be withdrawn due to injury but Eduard Atuesta came on in relief to drive the team forward. Palmeiras weren’t able to find a breakthrough but Abel Ferreira will feel good that Chelsea were playing not to lose in the closing stages of regulation.
Tired legs would set in during extra time as Palmeiras were pinned back by the Blues but they were able to continue defending until the final minutes before Luan’s mistake led to a Chelsea penalty. It took another VAR review but Luan’s handball was caught on second viewing to give Kai Havertz the chance to win things for Chelsea.
Havertz wouldn’t miss, stutter-stepping to throw Weverton off and calmly finishing his penalty. Luan’s day went from bad to worse as he was dismissed with a red card for a foul on Havertz when he was in on goal. A good road to get here and a good performance for 115 minutes from Palmeiras but it wasn’t the end that they wanted.
They can hang their heads high as defensively they handled Chelsea allowing only three shots on target over 120 minutes. While two found the back of the net, it’s quite a showing. On the offensive end, while things didn’t go according to plan Veiga leaving the match injured ruined their chances.