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Morocco’s King Muhammad VI (3rd left), Crown Prince Hassan III (2nd left), and Prince Moulay Rachid (left), applaud as Bayern Munich’s players celebrate winning the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup final match against Raja Casablanca in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Dec 21. (AFP)
Bayern sink Raja to clinch Club World Cup Ribery named ‘Man of the Year’ in Germany

MARRAKECH, Dec 22, (Agencies): European champions Bayern Munich added the Club World Cup to their collection of trophies when they comfortably outplayed Raja Casablanca to win 2-0 in the final on Saturday. Defender Dante and Thiago Alcantara scored in the first 22 minutes as Bayern followed up the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble they won last season. Raja, who stunned South American champions Atletico Mineiro to reach the final, were comprehensively outplayed and offered only the occasional threat. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola had won the tournament twice before with Barcelona while the Bavarians lifted the old Intercontinental Cup twice, in 1976 and 2001. Guardiola started without a recognised striker as winger Xherdan Shaqiri replaced Mario Mandzukic.

Mouhssine Iajour fired wide from a half chance in the fifth minute and from that moment the hosts were chasing the game. Two minutes later, Jerome Boateng headed on a corner to Dante who was left all alone in the penalty area and the Brazilian defender scored emphatically with a shot on the turn. Raja goalkeeper Khalid Askri was tested by Thomas Mueller and David Alaba before Thiago Alcantara added Bayern’s second with only a quarter of the game gone, scoring from the edge of the area after Alaba pulled the ball back. Bayern were in almost complete control although Raja offered the occasional threat and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer gifted them a chance with a poor clearance in the 38th minute.

The second half was a similar pattern to the first, with Bayern enjoying nearly all of the possession and Raja, who qualified as champions of host nation Morocco rather than African champions, occasionally looking dangerous. Iajour forced Neuer’s first genuine save with a close-range header before Shaqiri hit the bar for Bayern who comfortably held out despite the occasional wobble at the back. Raja coach Faouzi Benzarti said his players might have been inhibited by the presence of King Mohamed VI in the crowd.

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after being voted player of the tournament at the Club World Cup, France’s Franck Ribery has again been named Man of the Year in Germany. After he also won the title in 2008, German football magazine Kicker voted the 30-year-old France star their man of 2013 for his outstanding displays for Bayern Munich. The France winger joins some prestigious previous winners including Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp in 2012 and Germany boss Joachim Loew, the 2011 recipient. On Saturday, Ribery picked up the top player award at the Club World Cup as Bayern beat hosts Raja Casablanca 2-0 in the Marrakech final to collect their fifth title of 2013. “This year he has taken the step up to the level of absolute world class,” Bayern’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

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