Coach Ramon Tribulietx was disconsolate at the final whistle and many of his players could not contain their emotion breaking down in tears.
“We were on the wrong side of the game. They had more possession and we obviously expected that before the match.
“We had our chances we put in a fantastic effort and I’m really proud of our boys.We lost but I think we went very close,” he said.
Raja Casablanca had the first chance in the seventh minute of the match when skipper Mohsine Moutaouali crossed from the right to the far post where Adil Karrouchy volleyed his shot over the bar from close range.
The home side came close in the 22nd minute when Moutaouali threaded a beautiful through ball to Mouhssine Iajour who was denied by Auckland goalkeeper Tamati Williams inside the box, who saved with his leg.
Auckland were able to break in the 29th minute when Roy Krishna had his shot blocked. The plucky New Zealand side then had a decent shout for a penalty kick turned down after midfielder Cristobal wriggled free only to be clipped on his way through.
Raja recovered quickly and took the lead when Karrouchy found Iajour in the box who slotted his left-foot shot into the far corner past Williams six minutes before halftime.
The hosts nearly doubled their lead on 52 minutes when Moutaouali curled a shot from the left edge of the box only to be denied by the post.
The 34,000 crowd were left in stunned silence when Fijian international Roy Krishna capitalised on a defensive error by Mohamed Oulhaj and Ismail Benlamalem, allowing the speedy front man to slot home the equaliser on 63 minutes.
Defender John Irving kept Auckland City in the match when with 13 minutes left he dramatically blocked a Kuoko Guehi shot.
The match was headed for extra time when Williams palmed away an Oulhaj header only as far as Hafidi who slotted home the rebound to break Auckland City hearts and send the stadium into a state of delirium.
Tribulietx remained upbeat in his overall assessment of the match.
“I think we’ve done fine in the sense that we adapted. It’s difficult for people to understand the difference between the level of football we play at in New Zealand and the atmosphere we played in tonight.
“We’ve done reasonably well we’ve shown we’re capable of competing at this level and we could’ve got a better result had things gone our way,” he said.
The Moroccans will now face CF Monterrey in the quarter-finals in Agadir on 14 December.
FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013
Agadir Stadium, Agadir
Raja Casablanca 2 (M. Iajour 39′, A.Hafidi 90+2′)
Auckland City FC 1 (R.Krishna 63′)
Story courtesy Auckland City FC Media.
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