Inter cruise into Club World Cup final

European champions defeat South Korean Seongnam 3-0.


Reuters December 16, 2010

ABU DHABI: European champions Inter Milan overcame the early injury of Wesley Sneijder to book their place in the Club World Cup final with a 3-0 win over Seongnam of South Korea.

Inter will meet surprise packages TP Mazembe of DR Congo tomorrow after the African champions upset Internacional of Brazil 2-0 to become the first team from outside Europe or South America to reach the final.

Dutch midfielder Sneijder pulled a thigh muscle when tackled in the second minute and was replaced by Thiago Motta in the fourth. “To lose Sneijder early was not easy,” said coach Rafael Benitez. “We had to re-adjust. He has a pulled muscle and it’s unlikely he’ll get to the final.”

However, a third-minute goal by midfielder Dejan Stankovic settled Inter into a counter-attacking game. Samuel Eto’o crossed low from Cho Byung-kuk, trying to stop Diego Milito from taking the ball, pushed it into the path of Stankovic who fired into the net.

Captain Javier Zanetti scored a fine second goal just past the half hour, racing into the box and taking a return back-heeled pass from Milito to fire home. Inter sealed their win with a third goal from Milito in the 73rd minute.

Benitez said it was good to have Milito available again after his absence and that other injured players had made for a difficult early season for Inter. “With Milito as the reference point for the attack it becomes easier for the others and for me.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2010.

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