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Monday, Dec. 20, 2010
Inter tops Mazembe at Club World Cup
ABU DHABI (AP) Inter Milan won the Club World Cup on Saturday, defeating TP Mazembe 3-0 to end the surprising run by the African champion.
Inter, the European champion, won its fifth title of the year and second for coach Rafa Benitez.
Inter jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals by Goran Pandev in the 13th minute and Samuel Eto'o in the 17th. Eto'o, the player of the tournament, has 19 goals in 23 games for Inter but this was his first since Nov. 21. Joseph Biabiany completed the scoring in the 85th minute.
In the third-place match, Internacional beat Seongnam Ilhwa of South Korea 4-2.
Inter captured its third world club title following success in 1964 and 1965. It added to this year's sweep of the Italian League cup and Champions League under Jose Mourinho, plus the Italian Supercup to start this season.
Benitez's job security has been in question with his defending champion team in seventh place in Italy. Club president Massimo Moratti gave Benitez an ultimatum to win the Club World Cup.
"From my side, there is no problem," Benitez said. "I am very happy. I'm a professional who works 100 percent for the club. I want the support which I haven't gotten so far. That's all. If we have new players, I'm sure the club will improve significantly."
Many Inter players singled out Mourinho, rather than Benitez, for the team's success. Mourinho now coaches Real Madrid.
"It was a truly extraordinary and unforgettable year. Let's hope everyone remains fit for the rest of the season," striker Diego Milito said. "It is thanks to Mourinho that we were able to arrive to this point. He remains important to us."
Mazembe defeated Copa Libertadores champion Internacional of Brazil in the semifinals. The team from Congo looked rattled in the first half and didn't settle into the game until the final 20 minutes when striker Dioko Kaluuyituka had several chances.
Inter could have had even more goals in the first half if not for the play of Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba, who twice denied Milito at close range.
The African club was unable to break down the Inter defense and several players became frustrated, picking up yellow cards. In one instance, Amia Ekanga clearly dived in the penalty area in an attempt to get a penalty kick, then jumped up and ran straight into an Inter player. He fell to the ground clutching his face, a show that drew the team's third yellow card of the half.
Coach Lamine N'Diaye, a former Senegalese player, took over the team midway through its African Champions League season.
"The team was tired and exhausted," he said. "We needed one more day for rest to retain our fitness. Inter was better than us and they deserved to win."