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