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.
Chelsea’s club-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 33 minutes after a defensive lapse to send Chelsea through to Saturday’s final, the second in three years between English and Brazilian teams.
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 coach Thomas Tuchel in the dugout come the weekend, with the German still isolating back home after testing positive for Covid-19.
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.
Despite the presence of former Manchester United and Watford forward Odion Ighalo alongside ex-Porto striker Moussa Marega in attack, Al Hilal struggled initially to test Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal.