ABU DHABI: Romarinho’s goal allowed Al Jazira of the UAE to beat Auckland City 1-0 in the opening game of the Club World Cup yesterday, keeping them on course to meet Real Madrid.
Al Jazira were making their debut at the tournament as champions of the host nation, and the Brazilian’s rasping drive from 25 yards in the first half was enough to take them through to the second round.
The side coached by the former Barcelona assistant Henk ten Cate will now play the Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, the Asian champions, in the quarter-finals in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
The winners of that will face Real, the European champions who are looking to retain the Club World Cup title they won in Japan last year. The semi-final is scheduled for next Wednesday, December 13.
It is the third year running in which New Zealand’s Auckland City have been beaten in the tournament’s opening game, and the sixth time in seven years.
Seven continental champions including Real Madrid, Auckland City, Pachuca, Wydad Athletic Club Casablanca, Urawa Red Diamonds, Gremio Porto Alegrense and Al Jazira Club are competing for this year’s title from yesterday to December 16.