Sunday, December 13, 2009

World Club Cup Part V

Whilst at Al Nasr, I found out about a football exhibition taking place in Abu Dhabi - "Footie." It would be a get together of all corners of the football world, with competitions, freestyle shows, auctions and....... lots more beside. What's more it would be the first even of its kind in the Middle East.

Dubai

Michael was considering having his club represented at the event, but worries over whether their display would be the best meant that they decided not to bother. It was interesting to see the mentality behind the decision. The Emiratis clearly were interested in doing this only if they were going to be the best.

Their decision was probably the right one as I was possibly the only visitor paying that day. Bernard Lama was the only one of a host of football stars who were due to attend. Lauren Robert was due to make an appearance but was apparently last seen shopping in Dubai.

Heading to the stadium for the first quarter final light rain started to fall.

The crowd for the game between Pohang Steelers and Mazembe cowered under whatever shelter they could find as the rain grew heavier during the match. The roof (remember what there is of it) was put to good effect as the evening's entertainment was provided by the Mazembe supporters in the main stand, the brass band and dancer were regularly displayed on the large screen and their presence gave the match a better atmosphere. Song 2 was blasted out as goals were scored. It was noticeable that this didn't happen at the first game. was this because the wrong team scored?

Pohang won but wasted numerous good chances whilst Mazembe failed to mark Denilson, the one player they knew who would cause them problems.

The next day saw the action switch to Zayed Sports City, a larger stadium further out of town. Free buses have been laid on to take fans from the centre of Abu Dhabi to the stadiums. I commandeered one from the Abu Dhabi mall and had it to myself until we were virtually at the venue. There was certainly enough buses to cope with a 50,000 crowd. Obviously no one told them how many tickets had been sold. The crowd was a mere 7,000, and once again the entertainment was provided by the Mazembe supporters who, given the top tier to themselves, kept the noise going all game.

Atlante dominated possession and it was no surprise when they scored. Auckland did create a couple of good chances on the break but Atante were too strong for them. Auckland's reward - they get to play Mazembe for the 5th place in the tournament.

© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com

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