Saturday, December 13, 2014

Morocco, Algeria... and a New Zealand Fairytale?

It is rare for The View from Fez to report on football. It is even rarer for us to report a story that involves Morocco, Algeria and New Zealand. However, it is rarest of all that a small New Zealand football club makes the world news.

The FIFA Club World Cup run of Auckland City has turned into something of a fairytale after they unexpectedly defeated Moroccan Club Moghreb Tetouan last Wednesday - a result that saw the Moroccan side's coach getting sacked. Then came today's shock defeat of Algerian champions ES Setif in Rabat.

Auckland City celebrate as the fairytale continues

The New Zealand part-timers, who qualified for the tournament as Oceania champions are making a record sixth appearance. The world tournament pits the champions of each FIFA confederation against each other, to find the best club team in the world, and Auckland - the champions of Oceania and the only non-professionals - were widely expected just to make up the numbers.

However, New Zealand John Irving's goal in the second-half not only secured a win over Algerian side but also (for the first time) a place in the Club World Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Auckland will now have four days to find their feet, and apply for more leave from their day-jobs, before they tackle the South American champions on Thursday morning when they face Argentina's San Lorenzo, the Copa Libertadores champions, in Marrakesh.

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