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22nd of December 2013

Super Bayern crowned Club World Champion (2-0)

Super Bayern crowned Club World Champion (2-0)

Bayern triumphantly completed their high-profile mission to win a fifth trophy of 2013 with a 2-0 FIFA Club World Cup final victory over Moroccan champions Raja Casablanca in Marrakech on Saturday night. Pep Guardiola’s star-studded side simply had too much power and class for their courageous, ever-willing but ultimately limited opponents, as Munich rounded off a remarkable year for Germany’s greatest club with the third intercontinental title in their long and illustrious history.

Dante temporarily silenced the frenzied and partisan 37,774 crowd with the opener for the Reds after only seven minutes, Thiago doubling the score midway through the first half. The tournament hosts gave the favourites as good as they got for long spells in the second half, but Philipp Lahm and Co wrestled the match back under control and more or less comfortably closed out the game, icing the cake on an exceptional year at the club.

- Starts for Thomas, Dante and Shaq

Guardiola made three changes to the team that booked FCB’s place in the final by beating Guangzhou 3-0 last Tuesday, with Dante, Xherdan Shaqiri and Thomas Müller taking over from Daniel van Buyten and the Marios Götze and Mandzukic.

The treble winners’ line-up featured Manuel Neuer in goal marshalling a back four of Rafinha, Dante, Jerome Boateng and freshly crowned Austrian Player of the Year David Alaba. Captain Lahm anchored the midfield, with Thiago and Toni Kroos in central positions, Shaqiri and Franck Ribery out wide, and Müller as a false nine.

For Club World Cup hosts Raja, coach Faouzi Benzarti saw no reason to tinker with the team that sprang one of the great surprises in tournament history last Wednesday with a famous 3-1 victory over crack Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro and their big-name figurehead Ronaldinho.

- Controlled first-half power

Kroos and Moussine Iajour traded early sighters in the first five minutes after Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci whistled the match underway, but Munich were dominating the early possession and took a seventh-minute lead from a corner when Boateng sprang the offside trap with a header back into the danger zone for Dante to hammer home from ten yards.

The passes began to flow, Müller firing too close to keeper Khalid Askri from a flowing move and the keeper clutching Alaba’s drive from Müller’s sweet backheel, but Thiago made no mistake on 22 minutes with a controlled finish from the edge of the box after Alaba’s persistence and neat lay-off following a thrust down the left.

FCB took a breather for the next ten minutes but upped the ante again with Dante’s header and a curling left-foot effort by Shaqiri, Askri making a fine diving save. It was all going swimmingly for Munich until a huge scare on 38 minutes when Chemseddine Chtibi seized on a wayward Neuer clearance and aimed at the empty net, but the Moroccan’s first-time effort bounced just wide of the far post. Thiago shot wide and Ribery might well have had a penalty as the teams turned round with the Europeans two goals to the good.

- Reds see it home

Benzarti’s tireless troops were by no means beaten yet and made the running in the early exchanges after the restart, Iajour directing a good header goalwards in the 55th minute but aiming straight at Neuer. Guardiola clearly did not like what he saw and sent on Javi Martinez for the subdued Kroos on the hour. The change almost paid off at once as Munich swept forward, but Shaqiri hit the bar from point-blank range after a determined Müller challenge and Thiago spun the loose ball wide.

Guardiola’s men concentrated on retaining possession and grinding their opponents down now as the heat went out of the contest, with Mandzukic taking over from Müller and Götze replacing Shaqiri for the closing stages.

But still it was not in the bag as the Africans refused to capitulate, and carelessness almost cost FCB dear with just seven minutes left when Neuer was forced into a stunning save from charging sub Vianney Mabide. There was good fortune too when Raja skipper Mouhcine Metouali blasted the rebound high over the unguarded net. Neuer saved again from sub Kachani in the last minute, but the keeper and his team-mates had enough left in the tank to close out the win and hoist the trophy.

- Match stats:

Bayern Munich Neuer - Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Lahm - Shaqiri (Götze 80), Kroos (Martínez 60), Thiago, Ribéry - Müller (Mandzukic 76)
Substitute Starke, Raeder, Contento, Van Buyten, Kirchhoff, Hojbjerg, Weiser, Green, Pizarro

Raja Casablanca Askri - El Hachimi, Benlamalem, Oulhaj, Karrouchy - Erraki - Hafidi (Kachani 88), Moutaouali, Chtibi (Mabide 50) - Iajour (Soulaimani 78), Guehi
Substitute El Had, Zaari, Coulibaly, Rahmani, Dardouri, Eddine, Kanda a Mukok, Kouchame, Salhi

Referee Ricci (Brazil)
Viewers 37,774
Goals 1-0 Dante (5), 2-0 Thiago (22)
Yellow card - / Oulhaj, Soulaimani

- Match report by (Chris Hamley)

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