12 Dec 2014

Auckland City advance at Club World Cup

12:46 pm on 12 December 2014

Auckland City have advanced to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco after beating local champions Moghreb Tetouan 4-3 on penalties after a scoreless draw in Rabat.

The Auckland City goalkeeper Tamati Williams in action.

The Auckland City goalkeeper Tamati Williams in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's the second time the Oceania champions have made it to the quarter-finals of the Club World Cup, in their sixth appearance at the tournament.

Both teams produced just a handful of scoring chances during the 90 minutes of regular play, with the match sent to extra-time.

The deadlock couldn't be broken in the extra 30 minutes either, with neither side really threatening the opposition goal.

Auckland started the penalty shootout with three successful shots on goal while Moghreb Tetouan recovered from missing their first attempt to nail their next two and keep the pressure on the visitors.

That pressure told, with Auckland missing their fourth penalty attempt as the Moroccan's made theirs, levelling the shootout at 3-all with the two sides fifth and final attempts remaining.

To the bitter disappointment of the 40,000 home fans who used lasers to try and distract the Auckland goalkeeper Tamati Williams and the Auckland penalty takers during the shoot out, Mehdi Khallati hit the post with the Moroccan side's final penalty to give the New Zealanders the win.

Auckland will play African club champions ES Setif of Algeria in the quarter-finals in Rabat at 5am on Sunday morning, New Zealand time.

The winners of that match will face San Lorenzo of Argentina, Copa Libertadores holders, in the semi-final next week.

In the other half of the draw, Mexico's Cruz Azul meet Western Sydney Wanderers, the Asian champions, in Sunday's quarter-finals for the right to face Real Madrid in the last four.

However, Tetouan's early exit threatens to have a huge impact on local interest in the competition, after Moroccans had hoped the hosting of the event would help make up for the country's refusal to stage the Africa Cup of Nations early in the New Year due to fears over the spread of Ebola.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.