Frank Lampard of Britain's Chelsea walks from the field after being defeated by Brazil's Corinthians in their FIFA Club World Cup final soccer match in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. Photo by Reuters
Losing one trophy could be regarded as misfortune but
frittering away four in as many months is starting to look
like carelessness of the highest order for Chelsea.
Beaten in the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup before
becoming the first holders eliminated from the Champions
League at the group stage, Chelsea were ambushed by
Corinthians 1-0 in Sunday's Club World Cup final in Yokohama.
The London club are also 13 points off the pace in the
Premier League. Losing in Japan stung.
"It's a long way to come to lose," Frank Lampard told
reporters after a final Chelsea dominated for the first hour
"We didn't take our chances and we gave them a goal. This
tournament was meaningful for us from the minute we for here.
It is a big disappointment."
A fortuitous winner, headed home by Paolo Guerrero in the
69th minute after the ball had looped up off Gary Cahill's
boot, gave Corinthians the title.
Chelsea's players slumped to the turf at the final whistle,
Brazilian defender David Luiz in tears and having to be
consoled by team mates.
The resurgence of striker Fernando Torres, who had scored
five goals in his previous three games - against
Nordsjaelland, Sunderland and Monterrey - was put into sharp
"You have to try and find positives," said interim coach
Rafael Benitez, whose side play at Leeds United in the League
Cup on Wednesday after a 6,000-mile flight back to London.
"Fernando had the chances. He scored a goal that was
disallowed. He has to take these chances in a final because
it's not easy to create too many in games like this.
"If you have two or three, you have to score. But at least he
was winning a lot of balls in the air, he was fresh, and you
could see that physically he is improving."
By the time Cahill was sent off in the 90th minute after
kicking out at Emerson in retaliation for an elbow in the
face, Chelsea's players look dead on their feet.
"I'm just blown away," said Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio,
named player of the tournament. "We knew about Chelsea's
quality but we stuck together. This title is for all of South
An estimated 20,000 Corinthians fans made the trip to the Far
East, creating a carnival atmosphere in the final watched by
68,000 at Nissan Stadium.
"I want to dedicate this title to our passionate fans,"
Corinthians coach Tite said. "Not just the ones who travelled
but all the millions back home. They were in our hearts."
Chelsea have to pick themselves up quickly to keep alive
their fading hopes of catching Manchester United in the
Premier League and prevent any more early cup exits.
"We have to keep ourselves in the hunt," said a dejected
Lampard after Chelsea became the first European side to lose
a Club World Cup final since 2006.
"We have the Europa League, the FA Cup and the League Cup all
coming and we really have to keep pushing on."
Benitez, an unpopular appointment among Chelsea fans because
of the Spaniard's time as Liverpool manager, made no excuses.
"At the end of the day you can create but you have to score,"
said Benitez, who will be hoping for reinforcements in attack
in the January transfer window.
Benitez can expect another hostile reception when Chelsea
take on Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge this weekend, but for
the Corinthians a ticker-tape parade in Sao Paulo awaits.
"This was a real battle between the third world and the first
world," said defender Paulo Andre.
"For our people, for our fans, who have a difficult life,
it's so important to show the world we can beat teams like
this and that we can be the best in the world - just once."