Auckland City ousted from Club World Cup

Thursday, 07 Dec, 2017

Auckland City have been eliminated from the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE after going down 1-nil to local side Al Jazira.

Auckland, making a record ninth appearance, started the encounter the brighter.

Midfielder Cameron Howieson's long-range blast was denied by a diving Khaseif, who also kept out forward Emiliano Tade and Ryan de Vries from inside the penalty box.

In the 30th minute, Auckland City finally broke through, but a shot by Callum McCowatt was saved by Ali Khaseif after a cutback from the latter's teammate.

It was a miss which was duly punished. There was promising moments but not enough to trouble Auckland City keeper Enaut Zubikarai.

They will play the Japanese side at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on December 9.

In a thrilling opener, which will set the tone for the rest of the tournament, host Al Jazira will take on veteran Auckland City.

The goal that Al Jazira scored was a fine one, there is no doubt about that.

"But we have to be very proud of what we've done. Our domestic league perhaps isn't at the same level as Al Jazira's but we've competed in other global tournaments (Nike Lunar New Year Cup) and beat teams like FC Seoul (1-0) so we are getting more confident in what we are doing regardless of the calibre of opponent in front of us", he said.

Tribulietx knows Al Jazira will be a step up from Al Ahli, and while keen to manage the expectations of a footballing public increasingly use to Navy Blues teams causing upsets on the world stage, he is confident his side will get themselves up for the playoff despite the riches available to his opponents.

Even the Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate said as much after the game, saying "They were today the better side, but sometimes the better side doesn't win", in a rare admission from the opposition team.

Al Jazira, Auckland City, CF Pachuca, Gremio, Real Madrid, Urawa Red Diamonds and Wydad Athletic Club will vie for the top honours.