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Inter Milan downs Mazembe to claim Club World Cup

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Inter Milan won the Club World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory over TP Mazembe in the final on Saturday to end the surprising run of the African champions.

The European champions jumped out to 2-0 within the first 20 minutes then cruised to their fifth title of the year and second for coach Rafa Benitez.

"It was not an easy game because everyone was putting pressure on us that we had to win and do it well. Some of the football players were tired," Benitez said. "But we wanted to do well and we trusted we could do it. We wanted to win and we did it."

Inter Milan's Lucio heads the ball bast TP Mazembe's Dioko Kaluyituka during Saturday's final. (Getty Images)  
Inter Milan's Lucio heads the ball bast TP Mazembe's Dioko Kaluyituka during Saturday's final. (Getty Images)  
The victory gave Benitez vindication to attack an alleged lack of support from club officials amid widespread speculation in the Italian media of his firing and possible replacements. Club president Massimo Moratti gave Benitez an ultimatum to win the Club World Cup, and armed with the FIFA title, the visibly relieved coach hit back.

He said he held a meeting before and after the final with Moratti and demanded Inter buy "three or four more players" in order to salvage their season. If not, he said he envisioned either muddling through the season or "consulting a lawyer."

"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."

Inter captured its third world club title following success in 1964 and '65. It added to this year's historic treble of the Italian league, cup, and Champions League under Jose Mourinho, plus the Italian Supercup to start this season.

Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o chipped a pass to forward Goran Pandev, who opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Eto'o added the second himself four minutes later when he picked up a loose ball in the area and slotted it home. He rushed to the sideline for a celebratory dance with teammates.

Eto'o, who was named player of the tournament, bagged his 19th goal in 23 games for Inter and his first since Nov. 21.

The scoreline could have been even higher in the first half, if not for the exploits of Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba, who twice denied striker Diego Milito at close range.

Mazembe, which upset Pachuca of Mexico in the quarterfinals and Copa Libertadores champion Internacional of Brazil in the semifinals, looked rattled for much of the first half.

The team from Congo was unable to break down the Inter defense and several players became visibly frustrated, picking up yellow cards. One comical scene featured midfielder Amia Ekanga clearly diving in the area in an attempt to get a penalty, then jumping up and running straight into an Inter player. He fell to the ground clutching his face, a show that got him the team's third yellow of the half.

Coach Lamine N'Diaye, a former Senegalese footballer who took over the team midway through its African Champions League campaign, said Mazembe simply ran out of gas in the final and committed too many mental mistakes.

"I am sad for this loss. We were planning to have a better match," he said. "We committed many mistakes tactically in the beginning of the match which cost us two goals. The team was tired and exhausted. We needed one more day for rest to retain our fitness. Inter was better than us and they deserved to win."

Mazembe stepped up its attack in the second half, earning its first real chance in the 63rd when captain Kazembe Mihayo had a shot cleared by keeper Julio Cesar. Striker Dioko Kaluyituka had several chances, including a header right at Cesar. Then he attempted to chip a cross over Cesar, who managed to clear it just ahead of the rushing Amia Ekanga.

With time running out, Inter made one last push. Substitute Jonathan Biabiany brought down a pass in the area with his left foot, shifted it to his right and coolly pushed it past Kidiaba in the 85th.

Benitez said Inter could still salvage the season. Though the defending Serie A champion was struggling at seventh in the standings, Benitez said the right influx of players from the transfer market next month could be the boost the team needs.

Benitez said he had several players in mind but refused to name them for fear their price on the market would go up. But he was clear that the additions to his injury-hit squad - which also contains 15 players over 30 - could give Inter a chance to repeat the success it had under Mourinho.

"Everything is possible. We have three trophies to play for," Benitez said. "The league will be more difficult but if we have players we can win some games in a row. In the cup, the Champions League, you never know."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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