In their proud history, this will go down as Auckland City's most bitter defeat.

The 1-0 reverse at the hands of Al Jazira on Thursday morning is the kind of loss that can take weeks – or maybe months - to get over, something that can even keep you awake at night in the off season.

Making their seventh consecutive appearance at the Fifa Club World Cup, Auckland City were dominant against UAE champions Al Jazira.

And they didn't just shade it, they were superior by a country mile.


Even the Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate said as much after the game, saying "They were today the better side, but sometimes the better side doesn't win", in a rare admission from the opposition team.

Auckland City have been fixtures at the Club World Cup for the best part of a decade, and have enjoyed some wonderful moments. But they have never created so many chances in a single match.

UAE champions Al Jazira knock Auckland City FC out of Fifa Club World Cup

Indeed, it's hard to remember any New Zealand based team with so many opportunities in a game on the world stage, with 17 shots towards the Al Jazira goal, including seven on target.

But they couldn't find an equalizer, thanks to the superb efforts of Ali Khaseif in the Al Jazira goal, and some less than clinical finishing.

Ryan De Vries missed a couple of chances that he routinely swallows up every week in the ISPS Handa Premiership, while teenager Callum McCowatt will rue not making more of a great first half opportunity.

Emiliano Tade also couldn't find his usually lethal touch in front of goal, while Cameron Howieson was only denied by a wonderful save from Khaseif, after he connected well from outside the box.

It's hard to take for Auckland City, who have usually found a way to prevail in such contests in the past. They would have also fancied themselves to make another famous run in the competition, especially with a game under their belt at this level.

But after the initial disappointment wears off, Auckland City will also be immensely proud of their performance. It's almost taken for granted – due to their ongoing excellence over the years – but the Sandringham based club again raised their game several levels to compete on the world stage.

They matched – and then dominated – a fully professional side – who have budgets and resources that aren't close to comparable.

And their composed play in possession, and ability to create a series of genuine chances, was a pleasure to watch, and quite rare for a team from this country on the world stage.