Auckland City Book FIFA Club World Cup Berth For 11Th Time With Oceania Final Win

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Port Vila, Vanuatu: Auckland City FC's coach says his team of amateurs will throw everything into the FIFA Club World Cup after qualifying on Saturday for a record 11th time.

The New Zealand side gained entry via a 4-2 win in extra time over Fiji's Suva FC in a dramatic Oceania Football Confederation Champions League final in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

It earned the Navy Blues another ticket to the elite club tournament in Saudi Arabia in December.

No team has qualified for the event more than Auckland City FC and coach Albert Riera said although they'll once again be massive underdogs, they'll hold nothing back against the champion clubs from each FIFA region.

"We're not professionals, these guys they have jobs, they work every day and after that they pretty much go and train every day," Riera said.

"We demand a lot from the players, people think we're professionals but we're not.

"The only thing we do is try to be better and try to inspire others."

Auckland City becomes the second team to earn a berth at the seven-team Club World Cup, after Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds of Japan.

While they have largely struggled at the global tournament, the Aucklanders pulled off a series of upsets in 2014 to finish third, behind champions Real Madrid and Argentina's San Lorenzo.

Striker Ryan de Vries, who was in the 2014 squad, scored two goals against Suva FC, including the team's fourth, deep in extra time to seal the outcome.

Both teams finished with 10 men after Auckland midfielder Gerard Garriga was shown a second yellow card in the 60th minute and Suva's Azariah Soromon suffered the same fate in the 108th minute of a physical contest.

Auckland led 2-0 at halftime through goals to Angus Kilkolly and de Vries, but Fiji capitalised on their numerical advantage in the second half to level through Alex Saniel and Marlon Tahioa.

Suva FC were trying to become the first side from Fiji to be crowned Oceania regional club champions.


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