|Champions: Paolo Maldini of AC Milan holds up the trophy after their the FIFA Club
World Cup triumph [GALLO/GETTY]
Brazilian Kaka propelled AC Milan to a 4-2 thrashing of Boca Juniors in the Club World Cup final in Japan.
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.
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 Boca goalkeeper Mauricio Caranta after a dazzling solo run.
Ten minutes later, he squared to Inzaghi who scored his second goal.
Milan finished with 10 men after Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze was sent off in the 77th minute.
Boca had some consolation with a late own goal by Milan’s Massimo Ambrosini but it was too late to prevent the Italians from snapping Europe’s jinx at the Club World Cup.
San Paulo beat Liverpool 1-0 in the 2005 final and fellow Brazilians Internacional stunned Barcelona by the same score last year.
Milan won the tournament’s forerunner, a one-off match between the champions of Europe and South America, in 1969, 1989 and 1990. They lost to Boca on penalties in 2003.
In tonight’s play-off for third place, Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds defeated Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 4-2 on penalties after they drew 2-2.