City come close to club world cup win

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

A stop­page-time strike ended Auck­land City’s Club World Cup dreams in Morocco last week as they were edged out 2-1 by home cham­pi­ons Raja Casablanca in front of 35,000 fans.

City were very much sec­ond best dur­ing the first half of the De­cem­ber 11 match.

The Navy Blues found them­selves beat­ing a hasty re­treat af­ter Moh­sine Moutaouali split the de­fence with a pass to Mouhs­sine Ia­jour.

The striker was de­nied by the legs of City keeper Ta­mati Wil­liams.

Auck­land came back at their op­po­nents with Chris Bale get­ting past cen­tral de­fender Is­mail Ben­la­malem mo­ments be­fore Roy Kr­ishna was de­nied at close quar­ters by Zakaria El Hachimi.

Just be­fore half­time the host na­tion’s team broke the dead­lock fol­low­ing a free kick.

Passes from Kouko Guehi and Adil Kar­rouchy opened up City’s de­fence and Ia­jour fired the ball into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Five min­utes into the sec­ond spell, only the post de­nied Casablanca a sec­ond goal.

It was a wel­come wake-up call for Auck­land, who pro­ceeded to dom­i­nate the next 20 min­utes of play.

City’s chance came in the 63rd minute when Roy Kr­ishna found him­self near the cen­tre cir­cle with just three Casablanca de­fend­ers to get past.

The trio con­verged on Kr­ishna and then com­i­cally col­lided in bizarre fash­ion, leav­ing the striker with a free run at goal.

Kr­ishna scored and, as a re­sult, Auck­land drew level.

From then on, it was a rear­guard ac­tion from City with de­fend­ers An­gel Ber­langa, Ivan Vicelich and Mario Bilen all fea­tur­ing promi­nently as Casablanca looked for a late win­ner.

Casablanca broke Auck­land’s hearts with a 92nd minute win­ner from Ab­delilah Hafidi just as ex­tra time ap­peared likely.

Auck­land City are re­turn­ing home with $604,800 prize­money for again fin­ish­ing sev­enth at FIFA’s an­nual gath­er­ing of the world’s cham­pion clubs. The team will be pick­ing them­selves up for an ASB Premier­ship en­counter with Hawke’s Bay United at Ki­witea St on Sun­day.

Goal get­ter:

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