Friday 11 February 2022, 09:00

Chelsea, Palmeiras out to etch their name on trophy

  • A gripping UAE 2021 concludes on Saturday

  • Palmeiras and Chelsea clash in pursuit of their first title

  • Regional powerhouses Al Hilal and Al Ahly compete for bronze

After six thrilling encounters over the past nine days, the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021™ comes to a close on Saturday with Chelsea and Palmeiras contesting the final shortly after Al Hilal-Al Ahly decides third place. A new name is set to be engraved on the trophy, with Chelsea having lost the final in their only previous appearance in 2012 and Palmeiras finishing fourth on their debut in Qatar 2020. Meanwhile, Al Hilal could add their name as the 39th different club to collect a FIFA Club World Cup medal should they beat Al Ahly.

Talking Points

He's back Chelsea struggled to break Al Hilal’s defence in the semi-finals, but the club’s record signing Romelu Lukaku showed his poacher instinct to capitalize on a defensive mistake and end a goal drought that lasted over eight hours of football. Now that he’s back among the goals, can the big Belgian carry on and drive his club to their first FIFA Club World Cup title on Saturday? Veiga and Dudu end the hoodoo Lukaku was not the only one to end a long pursuit of a goal this week. The semi-finals of UAE 2021 also saw Palmeiras end a hoodoo by scoring their first-ever FIFA Club World Cup goal. The Brazilians needed 219 minutes to find the back of the net thanks to Raphael Veiga. Having not managed to score in Qatar 2020 when they finished fourth after a 1-0 defeat to Tigres and a penalty shootout loss to Al Ahly after a goalless 90 minutes. Once they discovered their way to the target, Palmeiras scored again ten minutes later through Dudu.

Continental giants clash The third-place play-off sees the most successful club side in Africa, Al Ahly, with ten CAF Champions League titles and 23 different continental trophies, lock horns with Asia’s most decorated club, Al Hilal, with four AFC Champions League trophies and eight overall AFC titles to their name. The two sides are also among the most-supported worldwide, with Al Ahly amassing over 30 million social media followers and Al Hilal boasting 14 million.

The Stats

26 Palmeiras are the 26th different team to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final. Ten different clubs have previously won it, with Real Madrid leading the trophy count with four, followed by Barcelona (3), Bayern Munich and Corinthians (2).

9 Brazilian clubs will have appeared in the final a record nine times when Palmeiras take to the field on Saturday. Spain has the second-most appearances with eight, while Chelsea’s appearance in UAE 2021 final will be the fifth for English clubs.

7 Brazilian defender Dante scored the fastest goal in a FIFA Club World Cup final, opening the scoring for Bayern Munich seven minutes into their 2-0 win over Raja Casablanca in the 2013 final. 3 Al Ahly have competed in the third-place play-off on three previous occasions (2006, 2012 and 2020). In 2006 they defeated Mexican club América 2-1 to finish third, in 2012 they lost out 2-0 against Monterrey, and in 2020 they defeated Palmeiras on penalties. Victory for Al Ahly against Al Hilal would see them become the first club to finish third on three occasions.

The Quotes

“We should appreciate this moment, because it is not easy to be at the FIFA Club World Cup final. You need to win a Champions League, then win the semi-final to reach this point, so it should be great game.” Mateo Kovacic “We all watched the Al Hilal-Chelsea game together. I thought the Saudi Arabian side imposed their style, but Chelsea are in the final and they are there on merit and everyone will be talking about them as favourites.” Joaquin Piquerez