Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Bayern Munich tops 2013 with Club World Cup
German side downs Raja Casablanca to earn fifth title of year
MARRAKECH, Morocco -- Bayern Munich capped the greatest year in club history by beating Raja Casablanca 2-0 to win its third Club World Cup on Saturday.
The European champions added a record fifth title to their trophy cabinet at the tournament of continental champions to go with the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup, and European Super Cup triumphs in 2013.
Dante scored early to deflate the Moroccan hosts at Marrakech Stadium, and Thiago Alcantara put the Bavarian side in command with his 22nd-minute goal.
Unheralded Raja, which beat Copa Libertadores champion Atletico Mineiro in the semifinals, used its speed on the break and came close to scoring but ultimately couldn't keep up with the German champions.
It was coach Pep Guardiola's third victory at the tournament, which he won twice before with Barcelona.
With King Mohammed VI of Morocco amid the majority of 37,747 spectators cheering for Raja, the Moroccan club just couldn't muster enough to break through against Bayern's deep squad of internationals.
Guardiola made three changes to the team that dismissed Guangzhou Evergrande of China 3-0 in the semifinals, with Dante replacing slow-footed central defender Daniel van Buyten to pace Raja's speedy forwards, who were especially dangerous on the counter.
Dante made an immediate impact as the Brazil international gathered teammate Jerome Boateng's headed corner inside the box to blast it past helpless goalkeeper Khalid Askri seven minutes after the start.
Raja's defence erred by playing Dante onside to score, and it was again scrambling in the 22nd as David Alaba laid a pass onto Thiago's run into the area to sidefoot a powerful shot beyond Askri.
With the crowd behind them, the hosts did not wilt and came close to breaking through.
Forward Mouhssine Iajour, who was instrumental in the upset of Atletico, had several opportunities as Raja found space on the break, and Abdellah Hafidi got an unlucky bounce in the 38th as he nearly caught goalkeeper Adrian Neuer out after a poor clearance.
As Bayern slacked, Raja pressed and Iajour headed a clear chance straight into the hands of Neuer before the hour mark.
But Bayern responded against a team without a single Morocco international as Xherdan Shaqiri rattled the crossbar right after.
But it was obviously not to be Raja's night as Neuer saved substitute Vivien Mabide's hard shot in the 84th with Mohsine Moutaouli sending the rebound high over the empty goal as Bayern slowed, looking happy to maintain the three-quarters of possession it enjoyed.
Guardiola, who replaced Jupp Heynckes in the summer following the first three title wins, improved his record to 6-1 in one-game finals.
Earlier, 10-man Atletico beat Asian champion Guangzhou 3-2 to finish third.
-- The Associated Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 22, 2013 B12
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