Champions delivered a blow
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.