Pressure mounts as Chelsea fritter away another trophy

YOKOHAMA, Japan Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:52pm IST

Frank Lampard of Britain's Chelsea takes part in a training session for the Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, south of Tokyo December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Frank Lampard of Britain's Chelsea takes part in a training session for the Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, south of Tokyo December 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

YOKOHAMA, Japan (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 before tiring.

"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 perspective.

"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."

CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE

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 America."

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."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Remembering Ayrton Senna

Handwritten notes and flags left by fans are pictured near the memorial statue of Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna at the race track in Imola April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofal

Senna's simple grave a magnet for fans 20 years on

Ayrton Senna is as discreet in death as he was lively in life. The last resting place of Brazil's most charismatic Formula One champion is marked by a brass plaque on a circular lawn, surrounded by almost identical plaques laid into the ground.There is no headstone and just a handful of flowers in plastic pots.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Serie A

Serie A

Roma running out of games in pursuit of relentless Juve.  Full Article 

China Open

China Open

Dyson enjoys happy return to China, shares lead with Quiros.  Full Article 

La Liga

La Liga

No rest for weary Atletico as Valencia trip looms.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage