14 Dec 2014

NZ Football welcomes 'trail-blazing' win

5:17 pm on 14 December 2014

NZ Football CEO Andy Martin says this morning's historic - and lucrative - win by Auckland City FC at the FIFA Club World Cup is amazing and a real achievement.

Auckland City's players celebrate with coaching staff after defeating ES Setif during their 2014 FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final.

Auckland City's players celebrate with coaching staff after defeating ES Setif during the quarter-final. Photo: AFP

The club has reached the semi-finals after beating the African champions, Algeria's ES Setif, 1-0 in Morocco.

It is the first time a New Zealand club has reached the final four of the tournament.

The win means the club is guaranteed at least $NZ2.5 million, which will be shared with NZ Football and the other top-flight domestic clubs.

Andy Martin said all winnings would be reinvested back into building the sport in New Zealand.

Auckland City FC's Angel Berlanga (L) fights for the ball with ES Setif's Ahmed Gasmi (R).

Auckland City's Angel Berlanga (L) and ES Setif's Ahmed Gasmi (R) Photo: AFP

Mr Martin said it was a top result.

"What they're doing is just absolutely trail-blazing," he said.

"I mean, people have got to remember that to qualify for this tournament they've got to win their national league, their confederation league, so they're playing against the top teams in the world, and to get to the semi-finals is just an awesome achievement."

The New Zealand part-timers, who qualified as champions of Oceania, had already beaten Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan on penalties in their preliminary round clash on Wednesday.

They followed that up by dumping out ES Setif with John Irving, a former reserve team player at Everton, grabbing the winning goal on 52 minutes when Tim Payne's corner fell to him on the edge of the penalty area.

He cut inside the defender and fired a low drive through a crowd of players that goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia got a hand to but could not keep out.

Auckland City FC will now face Argentina's San Lorenzo, qualified as the Copa Libertadores champions, in a semi-final in Marrakesh on Wednesday.

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