December 16, 2007 / 12:38 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 2-Soccer-Milan crush Boca 4-2 to win Club World Cup

(Adds Maldini quotes)

By Alastair Himmer

YOKOHAMA, Japan, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian Kaka inspired AC Milan to a 4-2 thrashing of Boca Juniors in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.

Kaka capped a virtuoso performance by scoring his side’s third goal and setting up two for Filippo Inzaghi as the Italians became the first European side to win the revamped tournament.

“This was the one trophy I hadn’t won,” Kaka told reporters. “It’s magical to finally get my hands on it. I can’t describe how happy I am. I’ve won everything now — it’s amazing.”

A slide-rule pass from the Ballon d’Or winner gave Inzaghi the simple task of firing Milan into the lead in the 21st minute.

Boca equalised moments later through striker Rodrigo Palacio’s header but defender Alessandro Nesta volleyed Milan back into the lead five minutes into the second half.

Kaka got on the scoresheet in the 61st minute, beating goalkeeper Mauricio Caranta after a dazzling solo run before squaring the ball to Inzaghi who slid home Milan’s fourth.

“I’m not surprised we scored four goals,” shrugged Milan captain Paolo Maldini, who will retire at the end of the season after more than 23 years’ service for the club.

“We have Kaka. He is always there for the team in games at the important moments. He’s the best player in the world.”

Milan finished a pulsating final in front of a crowd of 68,000 in Yokohama with 10 men after Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze was sent off in the 77th minute.

WILD LUNGE

The Argentine side were also reduced to 10 men before the final whistle after substitute Pablo Ledesma was shown red for a wild lunge at Kaka.

By then Boca had pulled back a goal when Massimo Ambrosini deflected Ledesma’s effort in but it was too late to prevent the Italians snapping Europe’s jinx at the Club World Cup.

The Milanese also avenged their 2003 loss to Boca in the tournament’s forerunner, a one-off game between the champions of Europe and South America.

“I’m very proud of my team,” said Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose future at the club still appears uncertain with Jose Mourinho being linked with his job.

“It’s been a long and hard road to get here. To erase the bitter memories of losing to Boca in 2003 in such style is very special. I want to celebrate this great victory.”

“We have to take it on the chin,” said Boca coach Miguel Angel Russo. “Milan are such a clever team. They use space so well and then they have Kaka, who can do everything.”

Sao Paulo beat Liverpool 1-0 in the 2005 final and fellow Brazilians Internacional stunned Barcelona by the same score last year. Milan won the old Intercontinental Cup in 1969, 1989 and 1990. (Editing by Clare Fallon)

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