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Atlante a World Cup bridge too far for Auckland City

Auckland City will play off for fifth place at the FIFA Club World Cup after losing 0-3 to CONCACAF champions Atlante in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning.

Auckland players Ivan Vicelich and Ki-Hyung Lee show their disappointment at Atlante's opening goal. Photo: FIFA via Getty Images.

December 13, 2009

AUCKLAND – Auckland City will play off for fifth place at the FIFA Club World Cup after losing 0-3 to CONCACAF champions Atlante in Abu Dhabi on Sunday morning.

A fluffed clearance by Adam McGeorge, in an otherwise organised and miserly first half defence for Auckland, allowed Atlante defender Daniel Arreola to fire the opening goal in from close range with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Auckland showed more attacking intent after the break but the next goal eventually came from the Central Americans when, with 20 minutes remaining, Christian Bermudez started and finished a crisp move with Rafael Marquez before slotting the ball under Jacob Spoonley.

Brazilian Lucas Silva added a third in time added on as a tired Auckland side were stretched as they searched for a goal to cut the lead.

The Oceania Champions will face African champions TP Mazemba from the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday morning in a playoff for fifth place while Atlante take on European giants Barcelona hours later in the second semi final.

Asian champions Pohang Steelers from the Korea Republic, who defeated Mazembe 2-1 on Saturday, meet Club Estudiantes from Argentina on in the first semi final on Wednesday.

From the start Auckland defended in numbers and were content to allow Atlante to play in front of them.
The possession stakes heavily favoured the Mexicans but a disciplined Auckland defence stood firm throughout the first half and restricted their more fancied opposition to predominately half chances, with fullbacks Ian Hogg and Chad Coombes again impressive and Greg Uhlmann and captain Ivan Vicelich standing tall in the heart of the back four.

Jose Gonzalez saw a shot from outside the area dip late but onto the roof of Spoonley’s net in the 14th minute, and then almost set up Marquez for the opener seven minute later with a raking cross that the stretching striker could only deflect over the bar.

Auckland could only muster two shots on goal in the first half, both from Ki-Hyung Lee, who sent a long-range speculator at Fredirico Vilar’s goal midway through half and then, shortly after Arreola’s opener, elected to fire a free kick direct on goal when City’s full range of tall timber were lining up in the goal mouth hoping to use their clear height advantage to full effect.

After the break Auckland were quickly on the front foot. Argentinean goalkeeper Vilar was at his best to beat out a fierce drive by Coombes but nearly landed in the path of a trailing Dickinson, who was just centimeters away from the rebound.

Dickinson had another chance in the 62nd minute but the touch he needed to control the pass an elusive Jason Hayne’s curled across the face of goal gave an Atlante defender just enough time to thwart the Englishman’s effort, and while McGeorge followed up with a powerful low drive Vilar was again on hand to turn it wide.

Despite Auckland’s resurgence Atlante didn’t yield their dominance and made the New Zealand champions pay for missed opportunities when Bermudez sent them two goals clear in the 69th minute.

Auckland didn’t lie down and immediately won a corner down the right hand flank from their most incisive and flowing move of the match.

A Coombes shot from the resulting set piece was deflected out for a second corner from the elbow of an Atlante defender but Auckland’s shouts of handball and claims for a penalty went unheard.

Gaps began to open in the Auckland defence as legs tired and men pushed forward and while Silva missed an open goal in the 78th minute and was kept out, along with Guillermo Rojas, by saves from Spoonley in the final few minutes, the Brazilian made sure he was on the scoresheet with Atlante’s third goal in injury time.

FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009
Auckland City 0 Atlante 3 (Daniel ARREOLA 36, Christian BERMUDEZ 69, Lucas SILVA 90+1)
Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi

Auckland City: 1-Jacob SPOONLEY (GK), 3-Ian HOGG, 5-Matt WILLIAMS, 6-LEE Ki Hyung (25-Milos NIKOLIC 78), 8-Chad COOMBES, 11-Daniel KOPRIVCIC (10-Grant YOUNG 66), 15-Ivan VICELICH (captain), 16-Jason HAYNE, 17-Adam MCGEORGE, 20-Greg UHLMANN, 22-Adam DICKINSON (9-Paul URLOVIC 88).
Substitutes not used: 4-Sam CAMPBELL, 7-James PRITCHETT, 12-Simon EADDY (RGK), 13-Alex FENERIDIS, 14-Keryn JORDAN, 18-Paul GOTHARD (RGK), 21-Riki VAN STEEDEN, 28-Daniel MORGAN.
Coach: Paul POSA
Cautions: Adam MCGEORGE

Atlante FC: 3-Federico VILAR (GK/Captain), 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, 21-Luis VELASQUEZ, 31-Daniel ARREOLA,
Substitutes not used: 1-Gerardo RUIZ (RGK), 9-Horacio PERALTA, 15-Arturo MUNOZ, 20-Andres CAREVIC, 23-Gerardo CASTILLO, 26-Clemente OVALLE, 27-Luis CARRILLO, 34-Saul GARCIA, 54-Fausto RUIZ, 58-Antonio PEREZ (RGK).
Coach: Jose CRUZ
Cautions: Rafael MARQUEZ, Daniel ARREOLA

Playoff for fifth place
Auckland City v TP Mazembe (COD)
Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi
2am, Thursday 17 December (NZT)  

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