Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The inevitable Jose Mourinho-Real Madrid reunion will be happening sooner than many might have expected.
Mourinho and Chelsea reached the 2013 International Champions Cup final against Madrid by defeating AC Milan, 2-0, in the nightcap of a second-round doubleheader played at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle were the goal-scorers in a game played in front of a crowd of 39,764 that ensured Mourinho would square off against his former club in the competition’s championship match in Miami on Wednesday night.
“For us, it’s very good,” said Mourinho of facing Madrid. “We play against a very special team with very special players in the competition that we are not that obsessed to win. … It’s (going to be) a very good experience and I look forward for it.”
In Sunday’s first game, Valencia handed Inter a humbling 4-0 defeat. Jonathan Viera led the way for the Spanish club, scoring twice and assisting on another in an impressive performance that should inspire Valencia with some confidence before taking on Everton in the fifth-place game in Miami on Tuesday.
The results from Sunday also mean that Juventus and Inter will lock horns in the seventh-place clash at SunLife Stadium on Tuesday, while Milan battle the LA Galaxy in the third-place game a day later.
The Blues enjoyed the majority of their game’s goal-scoring opportunities and set the tone from the opening whistle. Branislav Ivanovic failed to convert on a pair of chances inside of 13 minutes, but De Bruyne made no mistake with his look on goal in the 29th minute, hitting a low shot to the far post to end a nice passing sequence for Chelsea.
Chelsea continued to create numerous chances even after De Bruyne’s opener, but had to wait until the 92nd minute to add an insurance goal. Schurrle scored the deserved second for the English club with a picture-perfect volley following a cross from the right flank from Victor Moses.
Milan offered a stiff test for Chelsea, but never found that little bit of sharpness in the final third. Sulley Muntari had one of the Italian team’s best chances three minutes before De Bruyne netted the winner, but his shot was parried well by Petr Cech.
“It was difficult. They are a team with great experience,” said Mourinho of the match vs. Milan. “It was not easy. They know how to play. They have been with (head coach Massimiliano) Allegri for three years now, so tactically they are very mature and they know how to defend.
“They have Mario (Balotteli) in attack, very fast, with the other kid (Stephan) El Shaarawy. It was a good experience for us.”
In Sunday’s first duel, Valencia scored two goals in each half to top an Inter side that always seemed a step behind their Spanish counterparts. Viera led the way with his bright individual showing, and Ever Banega and Jonas each added a tally of their own.
“I think our team did a great job,” said Valencia head coach Miroslav Djukic. “We worked as a block, as a team and the individual quality we have was a benefit. We were very aggressive, we pressured them, and we had lots of good things today but we have to stay on this path.
“As for Viera, he’s played well and worked really hard with the team and the individual quality that he possesses allowed us to play well and so he did a very good job.”
After Banega opened the day’s scoring with a wonderful strike from about 30 yards out in the seventh minute, Viera doubled Valencia’s advantage in the 34th minute thanks to a bit of good fortune. Viera latched on to a cleared ball following a corner kick and blasted a shot from distance that deflected off Marco Andreolli’s head before finding the back of the net.
Viera then went from scorer to provider, assisting on Jonas’ 56th-minute goal. Viera played a great through ball into the Brazilian, who entered the game at the start of the second half, and Jonas proceeded to rounding Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic before tapping the ball in from inches out.
Valencia wasn’t done scoring just yet. Viera buried his second of the game in stoppage time, hitting a one-timed effort after past Luca Castellazzi after Inter’s substitute goalkeeper did well to parry a potent strike from Jonas.