Cham­pi­ons de­liv­ered a blow

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

Auck­land City’s hopes of pro­gress­ing be­yond the first hur­dle of the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup were dashed by San­frecce Hiroshima who se­cured a 1-0 vic­tory in Ja­pan last week.

Toshi­hiro Aoyama’s stun­ning 25-yarder in the 66th minute ended Auck­land’s chance to repli­cate their 2009 ef­forts in fin­ish­ing fifth at this tour­na­ment.

Some stray passes and clumsy fouls saw the Ocea­nia cham­pi­ons con­cede pos­ses­sion at cru­cial mo­ments in at­tack and leave Adam Dickinson toil­ing up front with lit­tle re­ward through­out the match.

Sub­sti­tutes Luis Cor­rales and Emil­iano Tade added much-needed sup­port to Dickinson in the match’s later stages.

But City saw each of their shots blocked in the dy­ing mo­ments be­fore a close-range ef­fort from Dickinson crept inches over the cross­bar call­ing time on the team’s FIFA Club World Cup goal.

There is some con­so­la­tion with Auck­land’s sev­enth place earn­ing more than $600,000 for foot­ball in New Zealand.

Auck­land and New Zealand Foot­ball will each get up to a third of the prize money; the rest will be spread across the other seven clubs in the ASB Premier­ship.

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