Chelsea will meet Brazilian side Palmeiras in the Club World Cup final after edging past Al-Hilal at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Romelu Lukaku scored the only goal in the first half.
The Blues will now look to lift the only trophy that has evaded them across Roman Abramovich’s 19-year ownership of the club.
Boss Thomas Tuchel missed the game as he was isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.
Chelsea dominated from the start against the Saudi Arabian side, and their breakthrough came from Lukaku just after the half-hour mark.
Kai Havertz’s left-wing cross was inadvertently headed into the Belgian’s path by Yasser Al Shahrani, and he rifled home from point-blank range.
It was Lukaku’s ninth goal of the season and ended a six-game drought, after he missed a couple of opportunities earlier in the match.
Two minutes after the break, Havertz burst through on goal and clipped the post from a tight angle, despite having Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech for support in the area.
Asian champions Al-Hilal barely threatened until Mohamed Kanno shot over from distance after combining well with former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira.
Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga then denied Moussa Marega from eight yards out, while Odion Ighalo and Kanno saw shots blocked as Chelsea struggled to put the game to bed.
But the European champions held on in the end and, in Saturday’s final, will have the chance to avenge defeat in this competition a decade after their last appearance.
- oneAl Mayoof
- twoAl Burayk
- twentyJang Hyun Soo
- 5Al-BulayhiBooked at 84mins
- 6CuellarBooked at 66mins
- fifteenPereira CoastSubstituted forOliveira Slimat 82′minutes
- 29Al-DawsariSubstituted forCheekat 81′minutes
- elevenAl Shehri
- twenty-oneAl Owais
- 33Al Khadani
- 43Al Juwayr
- 66abdul hamid
- 88Al Tuhayfan Al Yami
- 96Oliveira Slim
- 6Thiago Silva
- 5JorginhoSubstituted forKanteat Four. Five’minutes
- 8KovacicBooked at 81mins
- 3AlonsoSubstituted forSarrat 87′minutes
- 22ZiyechSubstituted forMountat 72′minutes
- Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos
Match ends, Al-Hilal 0, Chelsea 1.
Second half ends, Al-Hilal 0, Chelsea 1.
Foul by Andreas Christensen (Chelsea).
Odion Ighalo (Al-Hilal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Al Hilal. Mohammed Al Burayk tries a through ball, but Moussa Marega is caught offside.
Corner, Chelsea. Awarded by Gustavo Cuéllar.
Substitution, Chelsea. Malang Sarr replaces Marcos Alonso.
Foul by Mason Mount (Chelsea).
Yaseer Al Shahrani (Al-Hilal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by N’Golo Kante (Chelsea).
Gustavo Cuéllar (Al-Hilal) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Ali Al Bulayhi (Al-Hilal) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Al-Hilal. Michael replaces Matheus Pereira.
Substitution, Al-Hilal. André Carrillo replaces Salem Al Dawsari.
Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea).
Salem Al Dawsari (Al-Hilal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Chelsea. Awarded by Mohamed Kanno.
Attempt blocked. Mason Mount (Chelsea) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Romelu Lukaku.
Foul by Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.