WELLINGTON - New Zealand's Auckland City
boosted their hopes of qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup by
beating Vanuatu's Amicale 2-1 in the first-leg of the Oceania
region's club final.
Auckland thanked a lucky deflection for the decisive 82nd
minute goal in Port Vila on Saturday, a clearing kick rebounding
off Luis Corrales across the goal line after the grounded Costa
Rican striker had slid in to meet a cross.
"The win has come via a little bit of luck in the end and I
think we would definitely have settled for a draw," said
Auckland coach Aaron McFarland. "Considering they played very
well and dominated possession, we're very happy with 2-1."
Spanish striker Manuel Exposito slotted a spot-kick after
being brought down by the keeper to put Auckland 1-0 up in the
22nd minute, before Amicale captain Fenedy Masauvakalo fired in
a 67th minute equaliser.
The second-leg for a place at the Club World Cup, and a
guaranteed $500,000 payday, will take place in Auckland on April 17.
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