Auckland City look to get tactics on money
Auckland City will double their prizemoney to US$1 million (NZ$1.2m) if they can get past J-League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima in their Fifa Club World Cup playoff match at Yokohama's International Stadium tonight.
The Oceania club champions are guaranteed at least US$500,000 from the US$16.5m prize pool at the seven-team world club tournament. However, victory tonight would double that figure and set up a quarterfinal with Egypt's African club champions, Al-Ahly, on Sunday night.
Auckland City's winnings will be divvied up between the club (about 25 per cent), New Zealand Football and the other seven national league sides.
Auckland are an amateur team, while other teams competing this week include European champions Chelsea and Brazil's Corinthians, the South American titleholders. City are hopeful of a repeat of 2009 in the United Arab Emirates, where they toppled hosts Al-Ahli 2-0 at the playoff stage, lost the quarterfinal to Concacaf champions Atlante then beat African champions T P Mazembe to finish fifth in an odds-defying run.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx is known for his attention to detail and Auckland, who bowed out at the first hurdle last year when losing 2-0 to J-League champions Kashiwa Reysol, have put a lot of work into scouting Hiroshima.
"We've watched a lot of games, we have a clear impression of what is going to happen in, and out of, possession and at set pieces," he said.
"Obviously, Hiroshima are a very good team, technically very good and they play in a professional league so we are going to be the underdogs, we're aware of that. But football is a funny sport and we are going to be well prepared, we'll try our best and, hopefully, at least we'll compete and show a good image of Auckland City."