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Auckland City earn dramatic victory

The OFC Champions League and ASB Premiership champions ground out a stirring victory over Moghreb Tetouan 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes.
A delighted Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx was jubilant in the aftermath as the Navy Blues qualified for their second ever FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final, the first in 2009 after a 2-0 win over Al-Ahli of the UAE.
“We played a fantastic game and it was a great performance by us. Penalties are always a bit of a lottery, but if you look at the match as a whole, then we deserved to win. I’m proud of the players. They pressed well and played aggressively.
“We came close last season and this time we’ve finally made it to the quarter-finals. It’s without a doubt the biggest moment of my career. Beating the Moroccan champions here in front of a crowd like this – it doesn’t get much better than that.
“The players are obviously exhausted and now we need to recover as quickly as possible and prepare for the next game. Then we’ll do it all again and give it everything we’ve got,” he said.
It was a cagey opening 45 minutes in the play-off for the quarter-finals at the 11th edition of the Club World Cup.
The two teams traded half-chances early on, requiring both goalkeepers to remain vigilant but the first real opportunity of the match, however, fell to the New Zealand side – making a record sixth appearance in the competition – ten minutes from the break.
Ryan De Vries’ pass found Emiliano Tade unmarked near the penalty spot but his first touch let him down and Tade’s effort went wide in what looked to be a certain opening goal.
But the missed chance seemed to swing momentum in the Oceanic side’s favour and the Navy Blues found themselves with more attacking spirit, but the two teams went into the interval scoreless.
The second half lacked any strong chances for either side, though both teams became more aggressive in their search for a goal with harsh challenges increasing the intensity of the match.
The 35,247 supporters on hand maintained an excellent atmosphere inside the ground despite the lack of attacking football on display.
Tetouan, making their debut at the Club World Cup, were the more dangerous of the two teams with set pieces and some good build-up play troubling the Auckland City backline throughout the 30 minutes of extra time, but the goal they were so desperately looking for never came.
Angel Berlanga nearly found the winner with nine minutes remaining for Auckland, connecting on De Vries’ cross with a diving header that narrowly missed. Tired legs led to a nervy penalty shoot-out as both sides stepped up to the spot exhausted.
Tim Payne opened the scoring for Auckland, sneaking his effort under Mohamed El Yousfi, who correctly guessed to his right. Tamati Williams saved Ahmed Jahouh’s shot as the Navy Blues took a 2-0 lead after John Irving confidently scored Auckland’s second.
Zaid Krouch scored one for the hosts and El Yousfi was unlucky not to get a hand on Darren White’s penalty, which maintained Auckland’s two-goal margin.
Serigne Fall hit Tetouan’s first strong penalty, cutting Auckland’s lead to 3-2 and El Yousfi did well to deny Mario Bilen, allowing Tetouan to level the score at 3-3 when Zouheir Naim’s penalty went in off of Williams’ hand.
Sanni Issa buried his shot into the top corner to give Auckland the advantage and Mehdi Khallati smashed his penalty into Williams’ left-side post to give the Oceanic champions a 4-3 win on penalties and a spot in the quarter-finals.
The Navy Blues win was their second FIFA Club World Cup victory over African opponents and made up for last year’s heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Raja Casablanca.
The Kiwi champions now face CAF Champions ES Setif on Saturday at the same venue.
FIFA CLUB WORLD CUP PLAYOFF
WEDNESDAY 10 DECEMBER 2014
MOGHREB TETOUAN (MAR) vs AUCKLAND CITY FC (NZL)
MOULAY ABDELLAH STADIUM
RABAT, MOROCCO
REFEREE: Walter LOPEZ (GUA)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Leonel LEAL (CRC)
ASSISTANT REFEREE: Gerson LOPEZ (GUA)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Pedro PROCENCA (POR)
MOG: 12. Mohamed EL YOUSFI (GK), 3. Mohamed ABARHOUN, 5. Serigne FALL, 6. Mehdi KHALLATI, 8. Nousair EL MAIMOUNI (23. Said GRADA 98′), 9. Mouhsinne IAJOUR (10. Zaid KROUCH 46′), 17. Mohammed FAOUZI (87. Salman OUALD EL HAJ 95′).
COACH: Anelaziz AMRI (MAR), 19. Zouheir NAIM, 20. Ahmed JAHOUH,24. Abdelmaoula EL HARDOUMI, 26. Abdeladim KHADROUF.
SUBS: 7. Youssef BOUCHATTA, 11. El Mehdi AZIM, 14. Anas LAMRABAT, 16. Bilal ZAROUH, 21. Abdessamad RAFIK, 22. Adnane EL ASSIMI, 25. Anouar HADOUIR, 30. Hamza EL MOUSSAOUI, 31. Fouade BABA ALLA,
AKL: 1. Tamati WILLIAMS (GK), 3. Takuya IWATA, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA, 6. John IRVING, 8. Tim PAYNE, 10. Ryan DE VRIES, 15. Ivan VICELICH (c), 17. Marko DORDEVIC, 20. Emiliano TADE (9. Darren WHITE 68′), 25. Fabrizio TAVANO (14. Sanni ISSA 107′).
SUBS: 24. Jacob SPOONLEY (GK), 2. Simon ARMS, 7. James PRITCHETT, 11. Cam LINDSAY, 13. Joao MOREIRA, 16. Daewook KIM, 18. Louie CAUNTER (GK), 19. David BROWNE, 22. Andrew MILNE, 23. Sam BURFOOT.
COACH: Ramon TRIBULIETX (ESP)
HALFTIME: 0-0
FULLTIME: 0-0
HALFTIME EXTRA-TIME: 0-0
FULLTIME EXTRA-TIME: 0-0
Auckland City FC won 4-3 on penalties.
OFC Media

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