YOKOHAMA, Japan – Filippo Inzaghi scored twice and Brazilian Kaka capped a superb display with a goal as AC Milan lifted the Club World Cup by beating Boca Juniors 4-2 in Yokohama.
Their achievement was tarnished when they had Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze sent off in the 77th minute for a strong tackle on Leandro Gracian.
Kaka, Europe’s Player of the Year, was in sparkling form and his inch-perfect pass gave Inzaghi the easy task of firing Milan into the lead in the 21st minute.
Boca equalized moments later through striker Rodrigo Palacio’s header but defender Milan went back in front five minutes into the second half through Alessandro Nesta’s volley.
Kaka deservedly scored the Italian side’s third in the 61st minute, beating Boca goalkeeper Mauricio Caranta after a dazzling solo run.
Ten minutes later, he provided Inzaghi with the chance to grab his second goal.
Massimo Ambrosini’s own goal enabled Boca to pull one back but Boca substitute Pablo Ledesma was sent off in the dying stages for a tackle on Kaka.
“We have obtained everything we should as a team,” said Kaka after the Rossoneri added the Club World Cup to the European Champions League and Super Cup titles they have already won this calendar year.
“One phase in my life has ended. I want to move toward another phase and win all these titles again,” said the 25-year-old Brazilian.
Inzaghi thanked Kaka for setting up his two goals.
“Kaka was just excellent. He scored one himself and helped me with my goals,” said the 34-year-old, who scored a record 63th goal in European competition against Celtic in a Champions League match before coming here.
“It has been a great year for me.”
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said: “I really thank God for this year as we won the trophy which is so hard to get. This is the very end of our long and tough road. We were able to finish the task with the best result.”
Boca coach Miguel Russo said: “It was a close match. After Milan scored the goal, everything changed. We had some chances at the end, but a small difference made a big difference in the score.
“It was 50-50 in the first half and Milan were better in making space in the second half. We couldn’t. We wanted to add more goals at the end, but we didn’t have the luck today,” he added
Milan ended Europe’s fruitless run in the new-style tournament.
San Paulo beat Liverpool 1-0 in the 2005 final and fellow Brazilians Internacional defeated Barcelona by the same score last year.
Milan won the tournament’s forerunner, a one-off match between the champions of Europe and South America, in 1969, 1989 and 1990.
They lost to Boca on penalties in 2003.
Goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki saved two spot-kicks in the penalty shootout as home side Urawa Red Diamonds beat Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in the third place playoff.
Tsuzuki saved the first and fourth spot kicks, after the game had finished 2-2.
Meanwhile, veteran Milan defender Paolo Maldini has confirmed that he will retire at the end of this season.
The legendary Italy international said on Sunday after the win over Boca that would not play past his 40th birthday — which is just a week after the end of the Italian season.
“It’s wonderful because it’s difficult to reach 39 years old at a great club such as Milan, a club that has always given me the possibility to play for important trophies,” the left-back said.
“Now, I feel really satisfied with what I’ve achieved. I have absolutely no regrets”
During his 24 years with Milan, Maldini won the Champions League and European Cup five times, seven Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and the Club World Cup — and its predecessor the Intercontinental Cup — three times.