Auckland City FC knocked out of FIFA Club World Cup by Al Jazira

  • 07/12/2017

A blistering goal has eliminated a luckless Auckland City FC from the FIFA Club World Cup tournament as they went down 1-0 to host outfit Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates.      

The Oceania champions dominated much of the opening match in Al Ain but couldn't deny a sizzling strike from Brazilian Romarinho just before halftime which decided the outcome.    

It means Auckland City FC suffer a first-round exit for the third successive year since going all the way to the bronze medal at the 2014 tournament.              

They were unfortunate not to taste success on Thursday (NZT), having created many more good chances than an Al Jazira side who managed just five attempts on goal to the Aucklanders' 17.     

Captain and goalkeeper Ali Khaseif was a standout for the winners, making seven saves including several sharp blocks in the second half.              

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.

Teenager Callum McCowatt squandered Auckland City FC's best first-half chance when a clear shot on goal was struck limply at Khaseif.             

Romanrinho wasn't so generous in the 37th minute when a clearance fell at his feet and he beat a diving Enaut Zubikarai with a low blast from 30 metres out that snuck inside the left post.         

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx was bittersweet after what he considered a fine performance from his team. 

"We dominated the game, clearly, but sometimes the games go like this. They had one shot at goal (in the first half) and they scored it," he said.               

"But we have to be very proud of what we've done. We've proved to ourselves we can play at this level and play good football."            

Al Jazira counterpart Henk ten Cate could sympathise with Tribulietx.

"Today they were the best side but sometimes the best team doesn't win," he said.     

Al Jazira will go on to face Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds in the next round.