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Internazionale ease past Seongnam Ilhwa to reach Club World Cup finalEdit
Rafa Benítez, who may have to win the Club World Cup to save his job at Internazionale, will have to do so without Wesley Sneijder after the Dutch playmaker pulled up with a thigh injury four minutes into a 3-0 semi-final victory over the Asian champions, Seongnam Ilhwa, in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The South Koreans barely mustered a shot.
Dejan Stankovic and the Inter captain Javier Zanetti scored in the first half before Diego Milito sealed their passage to the final on 73 minutes, where they will face the tournament's surprise package, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Saturday afternoon.
Inter will be favourites to claim a fifth title of 2010 after a remarkable year in which they have already won the Champions League, Serie A, Coppa Italia and Super Coppa under their former manager, José Mourinho.
But the club has faltered since the Portuguese's departure for Real Madrid, with Inter lying seventh in the league, 13 points behind the leaders, Milan.
Whether Inter's performance in the Middle East can strengthen Benítez's position at the club is unclear. The club's president, Massimo Moratti, said last week: "I don't want to create problems: neither before nor during the tournament itself. Afterwards we will see."
Benítez was, nonetheless, upbeat after yesterday's win. "It's been a difficult time with a lot of players coming back from injuries," he said. "After 25 years as a coach, eight trophies, five finals and two promotions, I know football can be like this. I have confidence in myself, in my staff. The only thing I can do is keep working, don't read the press and hopefully I will enjoy the final."
He added: "To lose Sneijder early was not easy. We had to readjust. He has a pulled muscle. It's unlikely he'll get to the final."
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