Auckland City’s courageous performance at the FIFA Club World Cup 2006 came to an end with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of AFC champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC but the Kiwitea Street outfit will look back and wonder what might have been after missing several goalscoring opportunities.
Liam Mulrooney and Paul Seaman spurned the best opportunities with the goal begging. Mulrooney volleyed wide in the opening moments after a superb Grant Young cross picked him out at the far post.
Seaman – who covered every blade of grass in Japan in both games – made a lung-bursting run into the Jeonbuk penalty area where he latched onto another Grant Young cross. With Jeonbuk’s defence posted missing in action – and with an open goal inviting, Seaman missed the ball at the crucial moment and the chance was gone.
It had all started so well for Auckland City in the opening moments of the game and had they taken the lead Jeonbuk’s response would’ve proved interesting. As it was, Jeonbuk rode Auckland’s opening pop-gun salvo and scored on the break through Lee Hyun Seung.
The slick move was reminiscent of Al-Ahly’s interplay between Flavio and Aboutrika and left the Auckland City back four stretched beyond breaking point.
If Jeonbuk’s rapier thrust on the counter-attack had Auckland City run ragged, their second goal was a tresor bullet that had it not swerved past Neil Sykes could’ve taken his head off.
The trajectory and pace of the strike by Kim left Ross Nicholson without a hope and proved decisive. Auckland City refused to cave in despite these set-backs and they continued to create chances for themselves.
Substitute Teru Iwamoto took several free-kicks in search of a memorable send-off from his spell as an Auckland City player but the romantic ending of a fairytale exit was not meant to be.
With Auckland legs tiring Jeonbuk took ruthless advantage when Kim was tumbled in the penalty area by Jonthan Perry and Ze Carlo blasted the spot-kick beyond Ross Nicholson for the Korean’s third goal.
Auckland City coach Allan Jones was full of praise for his team’s performance and insisted they had done New Zealand and Oceania football proud.
Auckland City 0 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC 3 (Hyun Seung Lee 17, Hyeung Bum Kim 30, Ze Carlo 73 pen). Halftime: 0-2.
Cautions: Keryn Jordan 42, Liam Mulrooney 59, Jonathan Perry 72, Neil Sykes 74, Teru Iwamoto 92.
Auckland City: Ross Nicholson (GK), Chad Coombes, Jonathan Perry, Greg Uhlmann, James Pritchett, Liam Mulrooney (Jason Hayne 79), Paul Seaman, Neil Sykes, Bryan Little (Teruo Iwamoto 59), Keryn Jordan, Grant Young (Paul Urlovic 77).
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC: Sun Tae Kwoun (GK), Jin Cheul Choi Sang Hoon Shin 88), Young Sun Kim, Hyun Su Kim (captain/Kwang Hwan Jeon 81), Ji Hyun Jang (Young Sin Kim 76), Jung Kwan Chung, Hyun Seung Lee, Ze Carlo, You Hwan Lim, In Ho Lim, Hyeung Bum Kim.