After The Match 


Sao Paulo-Liverpool 1-0 (1-0)          18.12.05                     WC
Goals: Mineiro (26)
Team: Reina, Finnan, Hyypia, Carragher, Warnock, Gerrard, Sissoko, Alonso, Kewell, Garcia, Morientes
Subs: Riise (Warnock 77), Pongolle (Sissoko 77),
Crouch (Morientes 85)
Not used: Carson, Dudek, Cisse, Hamann, Josemi, Traore
Yellow: Lugano, Rogerio
Red: None
Referee: Benito Archundia Tellez (Mexico)
Attendance: 66,821
Shots on target: 3-6
Shots off target: 2-15
Possession: 47-53
Fouls conceded: 15-17
Corners: 0-17
Yellow: 2-0


HEADLINES "We know the goal from Sinama-Pongolle was a clear goal."
    Rafael Benitez

2312: Rafa slams officials
1912: Garcia: We were cheated out of final glory
1912: No sympathy from Sao Paulo boss
1812: Rafa: We deserved to win
1812: Reds thwarted by Sao Paulo


Rafa slams officials

By Lewis Rutledge - Sky Sports

Rafa Benitez has expressed his disappointment at the refereeing decisions that scuppered Liverpool's attempts to land the Club World Championship.

The Reds saw three goals disallowed in the final of the tournament against Sao Paulo, and had a late penalty appeal waved away, as they finished runners up in Japan.

The 1-0 loss was Liverpool's first defeat since October, but Benitez is hopeful that his side can maintain their excellent Premiership form over the Christmas period.

"We were playing really well before we went to Japan, and played really well when we were there. I am very proud of my players," he told Sky Sports.

"I hope to see the team play just as well now that we are here."

The Spaniard believes that the World Club Championship was devalued by the officials' decisions against Sao Paulo and that European clubs will be put off appearing in the competition in future.

"We tried our best, but we didn't win because of some big mistakes," he claimed.

"It's a pity for a big competition to lose its value like that. It will have a negative effect because European clubs will say 'Why do we need to play in something like this?'"

Garcia: We were cheated
out of final glory

Daily Post

Luis Garcia last night claimed Liverpool were "cheated" out of Club World Championship glory after their bid for success in Japan ended in despair against Sao Paulo.

Liverpool were denied three goals by the same Canadian linesman, as Mineiro's 28th-minute winner condemned Rafa Benitez to his first defeat in 12 games.

Television replays suggested Hector Vergara was correct with two decisions, but Florent Sinama-Pongolle's 89th-minute strike should have stood.

Benitez lodged an official protest to FIFA President Sepp Blatter about the standards of refereeing.

And Garcia, who earlier also had a goal disallowed, suggested the defeat was a direct consequence of the linesman's mistakes.

"We feel cheated," said Garcia.. "They tell me it wasn't a goal, but what can you do now? We can't do anything.

"We scored three and one was definitely a goal. I think the referee was clearly wrong with some of his decisions and we are really unhappy about it. We have lost out on the trophy but we know we've played well. They had one chance, and nothing else after that.

"At least I think we showed everyone that we can compete with the best teams in the world, and I believe we can kick on from this now."

Benitez pointed to a series of contentious decisions, including the failure of Mexican referee Benito Archundia to dismiss Diego Lugano for a foul on Steven Gerrard in the second half.

The Anfield manager also felt the time-wasting of goalkeeper and man-of-the-match Rogerio Ceni went unpunished.

Benitez said: "I try to respect the opposition because they're a good team.

"But we hit the bar, scored three goals and it was unbelievable the referee didn't show the red card for that foul on Steven Gerrard.

"I can't understand why only three minutes were added on.

"I talked to the officials at the end of the game but you can't change things.

"But something should change if you want to give importance to this competition. To play one game before the final and not water the pitch is not the most common thing.

"And you wouldn't get a Mexian referee and Canadian linesman in the final of the World Cup. They replayed a lot of instances on the screen but not the goal - why?? Everyone has seen we've scored three goals.

"There were a lot of things during the game, and I'd like to know what is a red card? And I want to know why, when there have been lots of stoppages in the game, we only had three more minutes at the end?

"The stats show we have had 21 shots, 17 corners, hit the crossbar twice and scored three goals.

"The centre-back has fouled Stevie who was running with the ball. The rules say if you can't play the ball and foul the player, it is a red card. I don't understand these things."

Benitez revealed he made his feelings clear to Blatter after the game.

"It was a private conversation, but we know one of the goals was a clear one," Benitez added.

"I tried to show respect to the other team but I am disappointed with how the situation was controlled by the referee. I really think we deserved to win."

Liverpool return to Merseyside tonight and need to pick themselves up quickly ahead of the busy Christmas schedule which sees them take on Newcastle and Everton over a three day period.

Despite the defeat, Benitez feels the morale of his side won't be unduly affected.

"I am disappointed with the result but I can only say congratulations to my players because they deserved to win," he added.

"We did all the things we needed to. Maybe if we'd played just five more minutes it would have been different, because for the last 10 minutes we weren't just playing in their half, but in their box."

No sympathy from Sao Paulo boss


Sao Paulo manager Paulo Autuori had no sympathy for Liverpool's plight following his side's narrow World Club Championship final success.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez was angry with the Mexican referee for not sending off Diego Lugano for upending Steven Gerrard, and for disallowing a Florent Sinama-Pongolle goal in the second half.

But Benitez's counterpart Autuori made no apology for the Brazilians' uncharacteristic defensive style, underlining that the ugly means justified the glorious ends.

"The most important thing in football is the scoreboard at the final whistle," he stated. "Football is about having a winner and a loser. The winner is always congratulated and is happy and the loser always tries to justify what happened.

"We won against a great team but the only thing that matters is the result. Sao Paulo deserve to be world champions."

Rafa: We deserved to win

By Steve Hunter in Japan - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez has spoken of his pride for his players and felt Liverpool deserved to win the FIFA Club World Championship in the aftermath of the 1-0 defeat to Sao Paulo.

The Liverpool manager couldn't hide his disappointment at some of the decisions which went against his team and added his team couldn't have done any more to win the game.

"The first thing I can say is congratulations to my players and we deserved to win," Benitez commented.

"We had 21 shots and 17 corners and we hit the bar twice, we scored three goals but what can you do? We couldn't have done anymore to win.

"I am not happy with a lot of things from the game but I am very happy with my players and we did everything possible for winning. I would like to know what is a red card as Lugano should have been sent-off for the foul on Gerrard. Why did we only play three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game as there should have been at least five minutes.

"We know the goal from Sinama-Pongolle was a clear goal. I have tried to show respect for Sao Paulo because it is a good team but we deserved to win and we controlled the game. You don't normally see a team from Brazil defending like they did."

Reds thwarted by Sao Paulo

By Alex Livie - Sky Sports

Sao Paulo produced a fantastic rearguard action to beat Liverpool 1-0 in the final of the Club World Championship.

Liverpool huffed and puffed but failed to blow the house down as a Carlos Mineiro effort proved the difference between the two sides.

The Reds forced 17 corners and were the only team on the attack in the second half, but they found keeper Rogerio Ceni in commanding form and an assistant's flag going against them as they failed to add the world title to their European crown.

Liverpool started the match at a rate of knots and Fernando Morientes should have handed them the lead inside two minutes, but the Spaniard headed wide after being picked out expertly by Steven Gerrard.

Sao Paulo looked out of sorts early on, but they sprang to life after 20 minutes as impressive front pair Marcio Amoroso and Aloisio started to test Liverpool's commanding backline.

Europe's finest forwards had found Jose Reina impossible to pass for 17 hours, but South America's top dogs proved a different prospect entirely and deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes.

Carlos Mineiro gave warning as to his talents when making a couple of incisive runs early on, but Liverpool failed to take heed and were undone as he strode between defenders to collect an Amoroso pass and poke a low shot beyond Reina.

The Reds took 60 seconds to fashion a response and were unlucky to see Luis Garcia's glancing header from a Xabi Alonso corner cannon off the bar.

Sao Paulo looked frail in the air and a dinked pass from the inventive Alonso opened up the Brazilians once again, but Garcia failed to find the target.

Gerrard has so often come to Liverpool's aid in their hour of need and it came as a major surprise when he fired wide from 12 yards after the impressive Harry Kewell had made a mug of 'the new Cafu', Cicinho.

Garcia had been returned to the starting XI to pose an attacking threat and he certainly provided that. However, he failed to turn the threat into goals for the third time when his glancing header was pushed wide by Rogerio Ceni.

Liverpool carried the momentum from the end of the first half into the second period and it took a fantastic save from Ceni to deny Gerrard who thought he had scored with a curling 25-yard free kick.

Garcia had failed to find the target with three good chances in the first half, but he made it fourth time lucky on the hour. However, his luck ran out as he wheeled away in celebration as his joy was cut short by an assistant's flag for offside.

Kewell's commitment to the cause has been questioned in the past, but he produced a display full of passion and quality on Sunday and his brave header handed Morientes a chance but his bicycle kick flew just wide.

Liverpool were denied a goal for the second time in the space of five minutes, as Alonso's corner was deemed to have gone out of play shortly before Sami Hyypia volleyed home from inside the six-yard box.

Morientes had an indifferent evening and his shooting let him down once again 20 minutes from time as he sliced an effort wide following an inviting cutback from Kewell.

Sao Paulo were redundant as an attacking force in the second half, but by hook or by crook they kept Liverpool out.

Liverpool's spirited effort was finally snuffed out in the 89th-minute as substitute Florent Sinama-Pongolle was denied by an offside flag against Garcia who had strayed marginally beyond the last defender when heading across goal.

With the Brazilians offering nothing as an attacking force, Liverpool threw caution to the wind late on and Gerrard fired wide, Garcia volleyed over and Kewell had decent penalty claims turned away as Sao Paulo somehow kept Rafa Benitez's men out to claim the crown.

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Thor Zakariassen