Auckland City go down in opener


The impressive lineup features six confederation champions, including UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid, New Zealand's Auckland City, Mexican heavyweights Pachuca, Brazilian powerhouse Gremio, African side Wydad Athletic Club, Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds, along with tournament hosts Al Jazira. "I just focus on playing the first game as if it will be the last game I ever play in my life", he said.

On Dec.13, Zayed Sports City Stadium will hosts the victor of Match 3 vs current champion Real Madrid and the match will start at 21:00 pm.

Star striker Ali Mabkhout set some lovely coordination with Mbark Boussoufa and Romarinho. Khalfan Mubarak did break through a couple of times, and dazzled fans with his exquisite technique.

It was one of two times that Zubikarai was called into action, at the other end Al Jazira's keeper Ali Khaseif was busy throughout.

Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate summed it up the best, talking about the team his side had somehow beaten. The goal came as Mabkhout tried a raid from the left side and was well checked by skipper Angel Berlanga.

The match was decided by a 38th wonder goal from Al Jazira's Brazillian midfielder Romarinho - who lashed home from 25 metres.

Tribulietx praised the standard of the UAE league and football in the Asian region as a whole but added the Navy Blues would be no pushovers. Al Jazira defence - a combination of young and experienced - stood tall and Khasif brought some nice diving saves.

Auckland had some great opportunities, especially to Cameron Howieson and De Vries, but couldn't find that moment of quality to get back into the match. Auckland City were typically tidy in possession, and looked more and more threatening as the match went on.

Real return to the competition with largely the same squad as past year, while Gremioof Brazil are making their debut at the event as newly crowned Copa Libertadores champions.

Auckland City FC kicks off the tournament tonight against Al Jazira, the 2016-17 UAE Pro-League league winners in the opening playoff round of the competition.