On This Day: Liverpool lose to Sao Paulo in Club World Championship final

On this day in 2005, Liverpool slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Sao Paulo in the final of the World Club Championship in Yokohama.

When Liverpool won the Champions League final against AC Milan in 2005, the main consequence of their triumph was securing qualification for the tournament for the following year, but being crowned champions of Europe also resulted in the Merseyside giants earning the right to represent the continent at the Club World Championship, which would take place in Japan at the end of the year.

The tournament had been founded in 2000, but the 2005 edition was just the second staging of the event after it had been initially scrapped in 2001. Liverpool were favourites to emerge victorious but they were expected to face competition from Sao Paulo, who had won the Copa Libertadores in South America. As expected, both clubs would progress through to the final, with Sao Paulo edging out Al-Ittihad by a 3-2 scoreline and Liverpool making light work of Costa Rican club Saprissa as Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard struck to give the Premier League side a 3-0 victory.

The stage was set for the International Stadium in Yokohama to host the final on this day 10 years ago, but a night which was supposed to end with Liverpool adding another accolade to their packed trophy cabinet ended in disappointment as they failed to take their chances against the Brazilian outfit.

Brazil's Sao Paulo FC midfielder team members celebrate after midfielder Mineiro (R) scored a goal during the final of the Toyota Cup FIFA Club World Championship against England's Liverpool FC at the Yokohama stadium 18 December 2005© Getty Images

The match began with Sao Paulo going close through Marcio Amoroso, who twisted sharply on the edge of the area before shooting straight at goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but up until the 27th minute, they had been second best as Gerrard and Luis Garcia squandered decent openings for Rafael Benitez's team. They were soon made to pay by their lively opponents, who netted what turned out to be the decisive goal when Mineiro collected a floated ball played over the top of the defence before calmly slotting his effort into the bottom corner.

It was a goal that came against the run of play, but Liverpool were not deflated and soon set about trying to find an equaliser. A corner from Xabi Alonso was met by Garcia at the near post, with the Spaniard seeing his glancing header hit the crossbar, before Gerrard was presented with a half-volley under no pressure from 14 yards out, only for the skipper to scuff his attempt a couple of yards wide of the target.

After the restart, Liverpool would continue their assault on the Sao Paulo goal, but they found goalkeeper and captain Rogerio Ceni in inspired form. Firstly, the Brazilian international made a stunning one-handed save to prevent a Gerrard free kick from finding the top corner, before a searching pass from Alonso was brought down by Garcia, who saw Ceni show fast reactions to tip his shot from an acute angle over the bar.

England's Liverpool FC captain Steven Garrard (lower) sits on the pitch after losing to South American champion Sao Paulo FC in the final match of the FIFA Club World Championship in Yokohama, 18 December 2005© Getty Images

As well as those near misses, Liverpool also had three goals disallowed for offside, although replays indicated that a strike from Florent Sinama-Pongolle should have stood. The Reds also ended the contest having had 17 corners without reply, but they all came to nothing as Sao Paulo eventually held on to claim a famous win.

After the match, Benitez said: "We did everything we could to win the game. We had 21 shots and 17 corners, hit the bar twice and had three goals disallowed. I have tried to show respect for Sao Paulo because they are a good team - but we deserved to win. You do not normally see a team from Brazil defending like they did. We controlled the game. I am not happy with a lot of things from the game but I am very happy with my players."

Victory for Sao Paulo made it a second successive triumph for a Brazilian side, but since then, a European club has won the trophy on seven of the last nine occasions. The 12th staging of the tournament is currently taking place in Japan, with Barcelona looking to further extend Europe's proud record in the competition.

Liverpool: Reina, Carragher, Warnock (Riise), Finnan, Hyypia, Kewell, Gerrard, Luis Garcia, Alonso, Morientes (Crouch), Sissoko (Sinama Pongolle)
Subs not used: Dudek, Cisse, Carson, Josemi, Traore, Hamann

Sao Paulo: Rogerio, Cicinho, Fabio Santos, Edcarlos, Lugano, Junior, Mineiro, Josue, Danilo, Amoroso, Aloisio (Grafite)
Subs not used: Christian, Alex, Denilson, Fabao, Renan, Donizeti Flavio, Thiago, Richarlyson, Souza, Bosco, Roberto Flavio

Liverpool's captian Steven Gerrard celebrates his goal with teammates John Arne Riise, Xabi Alongo and Momo Sissoko against Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa during their semi-final match in the World Club Championship in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo, 15 De
Read Next:
On this day: Liverpool enter FIFA Club World Cup
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole

1Manchester CityMan City1211104073334
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd128222762126
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs127232091123
8Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton114341111015
10Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12435817-915
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124261114-314
12Leicester CityLeicester123451618-213
15Stoke CityStoke113351322-912
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom12246918-910
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham112361123-129
19Swansea CitySwansea12228715-88
20Crystal Palace12129624-185