Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adelaide United end Club World Cup on high

Adelaide United end Club World Cup on high.
Adelaide United have ended the FIFA Club World Cup on a high after recording a gritty 1-0 win over Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the playoff for 5/6 at Yokohama International Stadium.

The Australian outfit dominated the opening twenty-five minutes and deservedly opened the scoring through Brazilian striker Cristiano, who set off on a virtuoso run seven minutes in before unleashing an unstoppable strike that flashed passed Amir Abdelhamid and into the top corner.

Adelaide almost doubled their lead through a Sasa Ognenovski header three minutes later, before Cristiano missed a gilt-edged opportunity to double his personal tally on the quarter-hour mark.

Al-Ahly gradually began to assert themselves as the first half wore on but they had little to show for their efforts, and coach Manuel Jose sprung a major surprise as he benched playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika at half-time.

Despite the change Al-Ahly remained lacklustre in the second half, and Mohamed Barakat wasted their best chance when he forced a flying save from Eugene Galekovic with eight minutes remaining.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar was full of praise for his team, and he hoped Adelaide's win would help raise the profile of the fledgling A-League.

"By finishing fifth and with our experience in the Asian Champions League, it has really lifted the profile of the game in Australia and it hopefully gives a lot of confidence to the other A-League clubs that they can do well in the Asian Champions League to get to this point," said Vidmar.

"It has been a tremendous ride which hasn't been easy but we've learnt a lot from playing these games and it certainly puts the cub and the game on the map back home. When you win games at this level it lifts people's eyebrows and awareness of what the football can and will be like in the future."

In contrast Al-Ahly coach Manuel Jose was scathing of Egypt's domestic media, claiming that reporters had failed to heed his warnings that the Cairo-based club were not the global force that some in the Egyptian media believed they were.

Al-Ahly have now fallen twice to Australian clubs, after they lost the 5/6 playoff to Sydney FC in Tokyo at the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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