Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

FIFA: Al-Wahda further local interest with victory over Hekari United

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on December 8, 2010

Abu Dhabi stadiumThe FIFA Club World Cup began in Abu Dhabi today with host club Al-Wahda securing their berth in the quarter-finals of the competition following a 3-0 win over underdogs Hekari United.

The tournament is being held for the second year running in the United Arab Emirates. Following the disappointment of national representatives Al-Ahli in last year’s competition, in which they lost 2-0 to Oceania champions Auckland City, Al-Wahda were determined not to suffer the ignominy of going out in the preliminary round and further local interest in this year’s tournament. Al-Wahda’s opponents were Hekari United who came to the Middle East with the status of massive underdogs following their against all odds triumph in the 2009-10 OFC O-League, in which they defeated two-time champions Waitakere United in the final, and guaranteed themselves a shot at the big time. Alas they found it tough going against the home side who were, admittedly, made to work hard for their 2-0 lead going into the half-time break. Goals from Brazilian duo Hugo and Fernando Baiano came in the last five minutes before the break and meant that the Papua New Guinea team would need a miracle to turn it around in the second half.

Sadly for Hekari, despite their greater possession, they were unable to score and they were made to rue their profligacy in front of goal. Al-Wahda just had that little bit more extra quality which made the difference and so it proved when Abdulrahim Jumaa scored the third goal with twenty minutes still to play. With only two yellow cards shown all game, one for each team, the South African referee Daniel Bennett would’ve been pleased to have such a quiet game to preside over.

Hekari United certainly didn’t disgrace themselves and can hold their heads high as they get back to normal business in January, hoping to defend the OFC O-League in order to qualify for this competition again next year. As for Al-Wahda, following a good performance, they will find it tougher in their quarter-final match-up against Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma which will be played on Saturday, twenty-four hours after the first quarter-final which pits African champions TP Mazembe against North & Central American champions Pachuca CF.



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