AC Milan wins Club World Cup

Dec 16, 2007 - 2:35 PM By Michael Church Special to PA SportsTicker

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Ticker) - Kaka emphasized his claim to the FIFA World Player of the Year title with an inspired performance to lead AC Milan to a 4-2 win over Boca Juniors in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup on Sunday evening.

The Brazilian, who has been nominated for the award along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, scored with a fine solo effort to seal the win while also setting up two goals for Filippo Inzaghi as Milan cruised to victory.

Alessandro Nesta was also on the score sheet for the European champions, but it was Kaka who stole the show just 24 hours before FIFA announce the winner of the annual individual award in Zurich.

Milan's win, which was built on an impressive second half showing, is the first in the competition by a European team since it was inaugurated in 1999.

Brazilian teams claiming all three of the previous editions of the tournament which has succeeded the Intercontinental Cup.

The Serie A side had the upper hand in the opening quarter of the game and with barely five minutes on the clock they close to taking the lead when Clarence Seedorf's ball over the top of the Boca defence found Inzaghi, but the former Juventus striker pulled his shot across the face of goal.

Sixteen minutes later, though, he made no such mistake. Kaka ran at the Argentinian defence, firing off a shot that was blocked before squaring the ball to Inzaghi, who scored with ease.

Milan's lead was to last barely a minute, however. A quickly taken corner allowed Claudio Morel Rodriguez to send over his cross from the left and Rodrigo Palacio came in at the near post to send his header across Dida and into the far corner.

Boca were in the ascendancy but their inability to carve out any clearcut chances was to cost them in the second half as Milan raised the intensity of their game.

Within five minutes of the restart Nesta gave Carlo Ancelotti's side the lead.

Andrea Pirlo's low freekick was missed by Massimo Ambrosini only for the ball to fall at the feet of World Cup-winning defender Nesta, who hammered his shot high into the corner of the goal.

Boca pushed again and Hugo Ibarra hit the post with a long-range drive in the 59th minute, but within two minutes the game was all but over as a contest thanks to Kaka.

The Brazilian striker took on the Argentinian defence single-handedly before cutting inside Jonatan Maidana and pushing a low shot under the body of goalkeeper Mauricio Caranta.

In the 71st minute Kaka turned provider once again as Milan put the result beyond any doubt.

Seedorf's surge forward ended with the Dutchman rolling the ball to the feet of Kaka and his lay-off found Inzaghi unmarked 10 yards from goal and the former Italy international could not miss.

Milan's joy was tempered 13 minutes from time when Kakha Kaladze was sent off for a nasty tackle on Leandro Gracian and with five minutes to go an own goal by Ambrosini following Pablo Ledesma's shot reduced the deficit.

But just minutes later Ledesma joined Kaladze in taking an early bath when he was sent off by referee Marco Rodriguez for a foul on the outstanding Kaka.

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