Soccer: Late goal denies Auckland City

Issam Erraki and Mohamed Oulhaj of Casablanca celebrate after beating Auckland City. Photo /Getty Images
Issam Erraki and Mohamed Oulhaj of Casablanca celebrate after beating Auckland City. Photo /Getty Images

Auckland City have been denied a quarter-final spot at the Club World Cup after losing to Moroccan champions Raja Casablanca in the 90th minute of this morning's playoff match in Agadir.

Coach Ramon Tribulietx was disconsolate at the final whistle and many of his players could not contain their emotion, breaking down in tears after the 2-1 result.

"We were on the wrong side of the game,'' Tribulietx said. "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.''

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.

Auckland were able to break in the 29th minute when Roy Krishna had his shot blocked. The 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 Mouhssine Iajour in the box, who slotted his left-foot shot into the far corner past Tamati Williams six minutes before halftime.

But 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 the hour.

The match looked headed for extra time before 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.

"I think we've done fine in the sense that we adapted,'' Tribulietx said. "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.''

- APNZ

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