Italian and European champions Inter have reached the final of the Club World Cup with a hard-fought victory over South Korean outfit Seongnam. The Nerazzurri overcame the early loss of Wesley Sneijder to secure victory thanks to goals from Dejan Stankovic, Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito.
Dejan Stankovic set the tone for Inter's win when he opened the scoring in the fourth minute. The Serbian midfielder broke through the Seongnam defence and confidently stroked the ball past Jung Sung-Ryong.
Inter doubled their lead just after the half-hour with a fantastically worked goal, which exposed the gulf in quality between the two teams. Javier Zanetti burst forward into space. He played the ball to compatriot Diego Milito whose clever backheel completed the one-two and Zanetti did the rest by striking the ball home with confidence.
Diego Milito looked back to his goalscoring ways and he received his just rewards on 73 minutes. Stankovic sprayed the ball to Samuel Eto'o on the left. The Cameroonian's shot was parried away by Sung-Ryong but only into the path of Milito who blasted the ball home from close range with the goalkeeper helpless.
Rafael Benitez's side, who have suffered with a whole host of injuries this term, suffered another blow when Wesley Sneijder was forced off inside two minutes. The Dutchman suffered a hamstring injury after a strong challenge from midfielder Kim Sung-Hwan and he was replaced by Thiago Motta.
After Inter's second goal, Seongnam had an opportunity of their own to get back into the game from a set-piece. Molina's free-kick was headed towards goal by Montenegrin striker Dzenan Radoncic however, Julio Cesar proved to be up to the task as he tipped the ball over the crossbar.
The Asian champions were dangerous from set-pieces and Inter had another scare on 42 minutes when Byung Kuk headed narrowly wide from another excellent Molina delivery. The Colombian then flashed a free-kick wide in the dying moments of the first-half.
Though Seongnam's urgency for a goal was greater, Inter retained the capacity to breach the Koreans' defence. Stankovic burst through once again on the hour mark but as he looked to square the ball from Eto'o, Ko-Jae Sung made a decisive block.
Set-pieces continued to be the main area of opportunity for the Asian champions but Radoncic could only shoot wide on the rebound after Julio Cesar had spilled Sasa Ognenovski's free-kick. Chunma battled bravely but were unable to notch even a consolatory goal.
Inter go into Saturday's final against African champions Mazembe, who shocked Internacional yesterday. Seongnam will face the Brazilian side, also on Saturday, in the third place play-off.