Romelu Lukaku scored a much-needed goal as Chelsea beat Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal 1-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Club World Cup final against South American champions Palmeiras.
Romalu Lukaku has again proved to be a world class footballer despite setback caused by goal drought.
The Chelsea’s record signing had failed to score in five games before arriving in Abu Dhabi, and the Blues are looking for the 28-year-old to find his best form in the second half of the season.
The Belgium international swept in from close range on 32 minutes after a defensive lapse to send Chelsea through to Saturday’s final, the second in three years between English and Brazilian teams.
“Everybody’s very happy that Romelu scored,” said Chelsea assistant Zsolt Low, who is helping to fill in for coach Thomas Tuchel after his positive Covid-19 test.
“He fights very hard and tried very hard in the last game to give everything. That’s why we give him the chance all the time game to game, and we hope that he has a bit of luck to score.
“He scored a goal today and we’re very happy, he’s very happy and we hope he continues and then scores again in the final.”
Chelsea can join Manchester United and Liverpool as the third English side to win the Club World Cup, having finished as runners-up to Corinthians on their first appearance in 2012.
They may yet have Tuchel in the dugout come the weekend, with the German still hoping to fly out if he returns a negative test.
Low said that Tuchel was in touch with the team at half-time, telling his players to calm down.
“We lacked a bit of rhythm but the players fought very hard to win this game and get to the final,” added Low.
“This competition is very important for the club. Chelsea have never won this competition, and that’s why myself and the players also feel the pressure.”
Al Hilal, coached by former Monaco boss, Leonardo Jardim, will contest the third-place play-off against Egypt’s Al Ahly as Chelsea’s win made it 12 from 12 for Europe against Asian clubs in the tournament.