Auckland City Football Club failed to close the deal in the FIFA Club World Cup playoff in Yokohama, Japan, surrendering an early lead over the Kashima Antlers that resulted in a 2 – 1 defeat for Auckland.
The first half of the game and the onset of the second saw a tight tactical battle where scoring opportunities were throttled before they could develop.
Four minutes into the second, Auckland city’s Dae Wook Kim headed a free kick from Emiliano Tade into the net to give Auckland FC a one-nil advantage, but that advantage was to persevere for only 17 minutes until the Antler’s Shuhei Akasaki contributed the equaliser.
With the game level at one and apparently headed for extra-time Kashima’s Mu Kanazaki headed the winner from right in front of Auckland’s keeper to steal the win and knock the kiwis out of the competition.
History was made in the match that was already significant for being the 100th fixture in Club World Cup competition. For the first time ever, referees had video assistance for the first time in a FIFA event.
The Antlers were riding a high from four days prior when they upset the Urawa Reds to claim the J. League final, managed to survive constant pressure from the Navy Blues and some stellar keeping from Enuat Zubikarai that twice denied Yashushi Endo from close range.