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King Kai crowns Chelsea world champions as Havertz's late penalty ends Palmeiras' resistance

22:52 GMT+3 12/02/2022
Chelsea Champions celebration
After Romelu Lukaku's opener had been cancelled out by Raphael Veiga, the Germany international slotted home a 117th-minute winner from the spot

Chelsea 2-1 Palmeiras (AET): Match Statistics

Once again, Kai Havertz was the match-winner.

On Saturday evening in Abu Dhabi, the man who scored the only goal in last May's Champions League final stepped up to take one of the most important penalties in his club's history, and cooly stroked the ball past Palmeiras goalkeeper Weverton to claim the Club World Cup for the Blues.

No wonder they call him King Kai. In less than a year, he's crowned Chelsea champions of both Europe and the world.

Chelsea fans have long sung that they've won it all. But they hadn't until Havert's extra-time spot-kick at the 40,000 seater Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.

Finally, owner Roman Abramovich, who was in attendance, has got his hands on the Club World Cup trophy, making it 20 titles in 19 years of the Russian's rule.

Chelsea will receive an estimated £4m ($5m) for winning the FIFA-organised tournament but that will obviously mean little to a man that has spent over £1 billion ($1.35bn) on players turning the Blues into world-beaters.

Indeed, as well as Havertz, another big signing also played a pivotal role, with Romelu Lukaku opening the scoring early in the second half with his 10th goal of the season.

However, Thiago Silva handled the ball in his own box in the 61st minute, allowing Raphael Veiga to level matters from 12 yards out.

The winner came from another handball, as Chelsea's pressure finally told.

By the time Havertz scored with three minutes of extra time remaining, manager Thomas Tuchel was on his third formation and had already used all five substitutes.

His changes worked, just, meaning the German – who arrived just before the game after recovering from Covid-19 – has now won three cups since succeeding Frank Lampard at the helm just over a year ago.

This latest triumph was as difficult as the final scoreline suggested, though.

Palmeiras coach Abel Ferreira brought up the massive difference in budgets before the game, telling reporters, "[Chelsea] are a team that that has spent £545m ($740m) to be in this competition. Palmeiras spent £29m ($39m)."

However, he added, "But I believe – and my players believe."

Their fans clearly did, too. Chelsea's players had to deal an intense atmosphere but they proved their mettle in a deserved victory.

N'Golo Kante can now boast of being a world champion for club and country, while Cesar Azpilicueta became the first Chelsea player to complete a clean sweep of honours.

Antonio Rudiger was arguably man of the match, though, showing why the Blues are now willing to make him the highest-paid defender in the club's history.

Tuchel and his players will now be targeting more silverware, with Chelsea set to face Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final later this month.

The Blues' Premier League title challenge may have faltered over Christmas, but there's a belief behind the scenes that Tuchel can break the boom-and-bust cycle at Stamford Bridge, given his success and excellent working relationship with those behind the scenes.

For example, he didn't complain when Chelsea refuse to sign another wing-back on a permanent transfer in January, despite Ben Chilwell being out for the rest of the season.

Tuchel is a good fit for Chelsea. He understands how things work at the club and he has every chance of staying longer than the 18 months Chelsea managers average under Abramovich.

Indeed, he's now provided his boss with the one trophy he was missing and there is an undeniable feeling that there are even more titles to come for Tuchel and his young side.