Kashiwa Reysol will play Monterrey of Mexico in the next round of the Club World Cup after the Japanese champions outclassed part-timers Auckland City 2-0 yesterday in front of a sparse crowd.
The New Zealanders were under pressure from the beginning, but managed to hold firm until late in the first-half, when a quick-fire double ended the game as a contest.
The Japanese side will expect a far sterner test from Monterrey than offered by amateurs Auckland City, who were representing Oceania at the annual tournament of continental champions.
The plucky Kiwi side provided the shock of the Club World Cup of 2009, unexpectedly winning two games, but there was to be no fairytale this time.
Kashiwa, who made history by winning the J-League after being promoted only the season before, continued their hot streak and might have been ahead within just five minutes, but Tatsuya Masushima’s snap shot was blocked on the line.
Englishman Adam Dickinson offered a muscular outlet in attack for an Auckland side made up of office workers, students and even a former backpacker, but his team were encamped in their own half for much of the first period.
Just when it looked like they might hang on for half-time, Junya Tanaka turned neatly in the box and fired the ball past an exposed Jacob Spoonley in the Auckland goal. That was at 37 minutes in, and just three minutes later, the J-League winners made it 2-0, when Masato Kudo fired in from close range after the ball had rebounded off the post.
The visitors made more of a game of it in the second-half, forcing Takanori Sugeno into a flying one-handed save late on.