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Chelsea book place in Club World Cup final after hanging on against Al-Hilal

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The semi-finals of the Club World Cup saw Al-Hilal and Chelsea meet at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and it was the Blues who secured their place in Sunday’s final after winning the match 1-0.

Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal of the game in the 32nd minute, with Chelsea having dominated the opening 45 minutes, but Al-Hilal caused a lot of problems for the Blues in the second period.

Chelsea were without head coach Thomas Tuchel for this match after he tested positive for COVID-19, and it was a tale of two halves for his team as he watched on from elsewhere. The Blues were very assured in the first half and created a lot of chances, yet they could only find the back of the net once.

The goal itself came after Kai Havertz sent a looped cross into the box that hit Yasser Al-Shahrani and then landed at the feet of Lukaku, who struck past Abdullah Al-Muaiouf from a couple of yards out.

It seemed as though Chelsea‘s dominance was going to continue in the second half as Havertz hit the woodwork in the 48th minute. The German was bearing down on goal and saw his chipped effort crash against the post before going behind, but that seemed to provoke a response among the Al-Hilal players.

Particularly from the 55th to the 75th minute, Al-Hilal created a handful of chances but were denied by a mixture of the Chelsea defenders and Kepa Arrizabalaga, while their inability to hit the target came back to haunt them.

The best chance for Al-Hilal fell the way of Mohamed Kanno in the 68th minute, as his curling effort looked as though it was going to end up in the corner of Kepa‘s goal, but the Spaniard pulled off a world-class save to keep Chelsea‘s lead intact.

Who will Chelsea play in the final?

In Saturday’s final (16:30 GMT), Chelsea will take on Brazilian side Palmeiras, who have prodigious talent Endrick in their ranks.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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