It was always going to be a tough ask for the Oceania representatives who had already advanced further than expected after their shock 2-0 win over host club Al Ahli on Wednesday.
Speaking after the game, Paul Posa said Atlante’s victory was well deserved.
“Atlante are the best team we’ve ever faced. We were taught a footballing lesson tonight, but I’m proud of the boys. They were lacking a bit of confidence but kept going and had a couple of chances.”
From the outset, Atlante took control of the game by starving Auckland of possession and continuing wave after wave of attack down both flanks, particularly the left hand side.
It was from the left that Jose Cruz’s side had arguably the best opening chance after 20 minutes when Daniel Arreola curled the ball in for an oncoming Rafael Marquez whose volley was saved by goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley.
Auckland’s defense held strong with Ivan Vicelich and Greg Uhlmann using their height advantage to stifle a number of attacks inside the first half hour. But it was an error from midfielder Adam McGeorge on 36 minutes that handed Atlante the opening goal; the 20-year-old’s scuffed corner clearance fell straight to Arreola who made no mistake from six yards.
Atlante continued to dominate possession going into the second half but almost conceded an equaliser on the hour mark when Jason Hayne and Adam Dickinson combined well, almost replicating the first goal in their opening match against Al Ahli. Meeting Hayne’s cross at the far post, Dickinson this time decided to take a touch and gave the defender just enough time to slide and block the close-range shot. McGeorge latched onto the rebound and struck a powerful shot on goal but his effort was expertly thwarted by Federico Vilar.
Chad Coombes also had an excellent long range shot midway through the second half, with claims of a handball as it headed goalward, but otherwise it was one-way traffic as Atlante went on the hunt for goals.
They finally doubled their lead on 69 minutes when Christian Bermudez collected the ball inside the box and fired home past Spoonley. Topping it off was Brazilian substitute Lucas Silva with a neat finish during injury time.
Auckland will now face TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo for the sixth place play-off while CONCACAF top dogs Atlante advance to the semi-final to play Barcelona.
Asian champions Pohang Steelers from the Korea Republic and Argentina’s Club Estudiantes will meet in the other semi-final.
For further information on the FIFA Club World Cup visit: www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/index.html
FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009
Auckland City FC: 0
Atlante: 3 (Daniel ARREOLA 36’, Christian BERMUDEZ 69’, Lucas SILVA 90 +1)
Saturday 12 December 2009
Zayed Sports City
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Auckland City FC: 1. Jacob SPOONLEY (GK), 3. Ian HOGG, 5. Matt WILLIAMS, 6. Ki-Hyung LEE (25. Milos NIKOLIC), 8. Chad COOMBES, 11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC (10. Grant YOUNG 66’), 15. Ivan VICELICH, 16. Jason HAYNE, 17. Adam McGEORGE, 20. Greg UHLMANN, 22. Adam DICKINSON
Substitutes not used: 4. Sam CAMPBELL, 7. James PRITCHETT, 9. Paul URLOVIC, 12. Simon EADDY (GK), 13. Alex FENERIDIS, 14. Keryn JORDAN, 18. Paul GOTHARD [GK], 21. Riki VAN STEEDEN, 26. Daniel MORGAN
Coach: Paul POSA
Yellow cards: Adam McGEORGE 43’
Red cards: Nil
Atlante FC: 3. Federico VILAR [GK], 2. Miguel MARTINEZ, 5. Jose GONZALEZ, 7. Fernando NAVARRO, 8. Rafael MARQUEZ (10. Gabriel PEREYRA 86), 11. Santiago SOLARI (63. Lucas SILVA 74), 17. Jose GUERRERO, 18. Christian BERMUDEZ, 19. Guillermo ROJAS, 20. Andres CAREVIC, 31. Daniel ARREOL
Substitutes not used: 1. Gerardo RUIZ (GK), 9. Horacio PERALTA, 15. Arturo MUNOZ, 21. Luis VELASQUEZ, 23. Gerardo CASTILLO, 26. Clemente OVALLE, 27. Luis CARRILLO, 34. Saul GARCIA, 54. Fausto RUIZ, 58. Antonio PEREZ (GK)
Coach: Jose CRUZ
Yellow cards: Rafael MARQUEZ 10’, Daniel ARREOLA 26’
Red cards: Nil
Photo courtesy FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images