ABU DHABI - So indifferent was Inter Milan’s form going into the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 that many people had SC Internacional do Porto Alegre down as their favourites to win the competition.
Led by the inspirational Samuel Eto’o, however, I Nerazzurri defied the doubters, comfortably seeing off Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma F.C. in the semi-finals before dispatching African hopefuls TP Mazembe Englebert by the same 3-0 scoreline in Saturday’s final.
In rediscovering the spirit that took them to the European title earlier this year and in emulating the feat of their city rivals AC Milan, who lifted the trophy in 2007, the Italians collected a third club world championship trophy to add to the two they won in the mid-1960s. It was the perfect tonic following a trying start to the season.
After his outstanding display in the final, Samuel Eto’o was a deserving winner of the adidas Golden Ball. The Cameroonian livewire set up strike partner Goran Pandev for Inter’s opening goal against the Congolese, and then struck with a superb drive, with Jonathan Biabiany rounding off the scoring five minutes from time.
Mazembe’s momentous campaign
Despite their defeat, African champions T.P. Mazembe had every reason to be pleased with their competition.
Lamine N’Diaye’s side pulled off the shock of the tournament when they became the first African side to reach a FIFA Club World Cup final, goals from Mulota Kabangu and Dioko Kaluyituka helping them oust Copa Libertadores holders Sport Club Internacional in the semis.
As expected, the Congolese side brought their colourful and noisy band of supporters with them, with Sport Club Internacional’s fans also making themselves heard during Saturday’s match for third place against Seongnam Ilhwa FC.