Club World Cup: Boca v MilanBy: Martha | December 16th, 2007
Though the 4-2 scoreline flattered them in the extreme, Milan deserved their win over Boca, and are now the first European team to ever lift the Club World Cup trophy in the tournament’s short history. It’s just too bad they have to go back to Italy now, where all those nasty teams clog up the midfield and don’t let them play, because in attack they finally had it working today (as, to be fair, did Boca).
The first half was wide open and even, with both teams attacking well, and Boca doing a great job of shutting down everything that came near their box. Though Milan had a lot of pressure, Dida was actually the busiest of the two keepers early on, because his defense was the shakier of the two (Alessandro Nesta, I’m looking at you). The breakthrough came through Kaka, who found his path to goal cut off (probably by Gabriel Paletta, who played him incredibly well) but shot anyway, and then turned the deflection across the box for Pippo Inzaghi, who made up for his previous miss by slotting it home.
Pippo had barely finished running around in glee, though, when the game was level — Boca took advantage of a very spacy (mentally and physically) Milan defense to play a nice little short corner which resulted in a cross for Rodrigo Palacio. He headed the ball home while everyone else in the box stood at looked at him indignantly, and it was 1-1 with only 23 minutes gone. The half ended that way, and the second opened just as lively as the first, and five minutes in, Milan were back in front: A corner was swung in, bounced off Massimo Ambrosini and hit Nesta in the leg; the defend took it out of the air and lashed it into the top of the net and, this time, Milan learned their lesson, and actually went back and defended.
Boca had to push forward more now, which both earned them increased chances — Hugo Ibarra was terribly unlikely when his angled shot from outside the box beat Dida but went off the inside of the post — and left a ton of space at the back for Milan on the counter, which is what ultimately sunk the Argentine club. Just moments after Ibarra’s attempt, the ball was in the final third at Kaka’s feet and, rather than the tight marking he’d faced in the first half, he now had acres of space and lots of time, and the result was another goal for Milan, when he slid it past the keeper from a tight angle. (In case you were wondering, he still belongs to Jesus.) And, less than 10 minutes later, the fourth was more of the same: Milan broke though Clarence Seedorf, he played a great, simple through ball for Kaka, he played it on to Inzaghi, and Inzaghi put it in the back of the net. With 20 minutes left, despite what the morons on FSC kept saying, it was well and truly over.
There was still time for some cynical tackles, a pair of red cards, and an own goal from Ambrossini, but none of that was ever going to change the result, and Milan deserved the win. Now they just have to get home and get over their jet lag in time for the derby.
[MilanGianfranco liveblogged the match over here.]