Chelsea 1–0 Al Hilal: 5 Things We Learnt in Club World Cup Semifinal

Chelsea 1–0 Al Hilal: 5 Things We Learnt in Club World Cup Semifinal

Rene Otinga
updated at April 12, 2023 at 7:55 PM
  • Chelsea have a chance to win the Club World Cup for the first time in their history after advancing to the final
  • Romelu Lukaku’s goal was enough to see off Al Hilal on Tuesday, February 9, in the absence of Thomas Tuchel
  • There were several notable observations from the game, including Hakim Ziyech’s impressive form since quitting the national team

Chelsea are through to the Club World Cup final after seeing off Al Hilan in Abu Dhabi, and Thomas Tuchel now has a solid chance of clinching his second piece of silverware as Blues boss.

The Blues edged past their rivals on Wednesday, February 9, thanks to a solitary Romelu Lukaku goal, and they now seek to win the Club World Cup for the first time in their history.

Chelsea 1-0 Al Hilal
Lukaku scored the only goal as Chelsea beat Al Hilal to advance to the Club World Cup final. Photo by Matthew Ashton.
Source: Getty Images

Despite the absence of Thomas Tuchel, who is still recovering from COVID-19, Chelsea showed extreme professionalism to get the job done in Abu Dhabi.

Sports Brief takes a look at some of the minor subplots that came from the semi-final on Tuesday:

Lukaku badly needed a goal

Lukaku has been playing his football under pressure, especially after the explosive interview in December 2021.

The Belgian is slowly winning back the Chelsea faithful, but it has not proven to be an easy task so far.

However, goals certainly appease fans, and the 28-year old’s strike in the club world cup semi-final will undoubtedly do him some good.

Throughout the match against Al-Hilal, Lukaku struggled a bit but will be happy to have gotten the goal that sent his side to the final.

Kai Havertz rediscovering himself

German Kai Havertz started his first match since a 2-0 win against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup on January 5.

In recent weeks, it has been clear Tuchel prefers other attacking options, but the display shown by Havertz was a strong statement from the German that he should perhaps start more games.

Ziyech is much happier at Chelsea than Morocco

Despite being snubbed by his national team coach for the Africa Cup of Nations, Hakim Ziyech seems unaffected if his performances are anything to go by.

As a matter of fact, the Morrocan has been in impressive form for Chelsea in recent weeks, and he has answered his critics brilliantly through his performances, just as questions were starting to get raised about his abilities.

The Blues have been blessed with some top-class midfielders and Matteo Kovacic is undoubtedly one of them.

This was evident again on Wednesday, as the Croatian exhibited a combination of vision, technical ability and ability to break the press.

Notably, Chelsea went through a poor run of form a couple of weeks ago in the absence of the former Real Madrid man.

Goalkeepers and confidence go hand in hand

Statistically, Kepa Arizabalaga was the worst goalkeeper towards the end of the 2019/20 season.

But the Spaniard seems to have rediscovered his class in recent weeks, especially in the absence of Edouard Mendy, who was representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Kepa kept another clean sheet against Al Hilal, which will certainly do him some good in terms of his confidence, despite the return of Mendy.

Tottenham stunned by Southampton as Manchester City march on

In the Premier League, Tottenham’s top-four hopes suffered a blow as Antonio Conte’s side were pegged back by Southampton, who eventually won the game 3-2.

Che Adams netted the winner in the 82nd minute, three minutes after Mohamed Elyounoussi had found an equaliser for the Saints.

Meanwhile, Manchester City went 12 points clear with a routine win over Brentford thanks to goals from Riyad Mahrez and Kevin de Bruyne.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and