Inter waltzed into the Club World Cup final with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Seongnam Ilhwa courtesy of a splendid performance from striker Diego Milito.
The fact that Rafael Benitez's men defeated the Asian champions will come as little surprise to anyone despite their recent poor form, but after ‘the other Inter’ were upset by TP Mazembe and suffered a shock exit, no one was taking anything for granted.
However, president Massimo Moratti’s club were always the favourite to win this tournament despite their recent poor form. The most pleasant surprise though was the return of ‘Il Principe’ who played a hand in all three of their goals.
The Argentine star held up the ball for the forward run of Dejan Stankovic on the opener, assisted compatriot Javier Zanetti’s goal just after the half-hour with a sublime back heel and eventually got on the scoresheet himself late on for the third - even though he required two bites at the cherry after goalkeeper Sung-Ryong Jong parried Samuel Eto’o’s strike into his path.
The Cameroon international had been the sole constant threat up front for Inter this season and no one will be more pleased than under-fire coach Benitez to see Milito begin to turn the corner after a frustrating first few months to the season.
The former Real Zaragoza and Genoa hitman had looked a shadow of his former self up until this match in 2010-11, only scoring three times in Serie A in addition to suffering from injuries.
Just the other day the 31-year-old vowed to fire Inter towards World Club Cup glory in Abu Dhabi and has so far kept true to his word, with a vintage ‘man of the match’ type performance in the semi-final.
On the other hand, a sour note for the Italians was that Wesley Sneijder limped off just a couple minutes into the contest and the extent of the injury has yet to be ascertained, nonetheless his presence in the final against the Congolese outfit is now in doubt.
Even so, with Milito bursting into life in timely fashion and on the back of a straightforward and convincing victory, Inter will go into the final on December 18 confident of lifting the trophy.