VIDEO: Kashiwa beats Auckland City 2-0 in Club World Cup

AP, Thursday 8 Dec 2011

Five days after winning the J-League title, Kashiwa Reysol beat Oceania representative Auckland City 2-0 Thursday in their opening match of the Club World Cup

Junya Tanaka and Masato Kudo scored within four minutes of each other in the first half as Reysol built on the momentum of Saturday’s 3-1 win over Urawa Reds. That win allowed the Japanese team to become the first in J-League history to win a championship in the season following promotion.

Tanaka made it 1-0 in the 37th minute after receiving a pass from Wataru Hashimoto, eluding two defenders and sending an angled left-footed shot past goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley.

Kudo doubled the lead three minutes later, beating Spoonley from close range after a free kick from Leandro Domingues hit the post.

“We became champions on Saturday and didn’t have much time to prepare for this match as there were a lot of celebrations,” Kashiwa coach Nelsinho said. “But the two goals allowed us to take control and perform steadily throughout the match.”

The Club World Cup is in Japan for the first time since 2008 after two editions in the United Arab Emirates. Champions League winner Barcelona and South American champion Santos are seeded and don’t enter the tournament until semifinals begin next Thursday.

Kashiwa advanced to Sunday’s quarterfinals against CONCACAF champion Monterrey of Mexico.

Domingues had a good opportunity to widen the lead to 3-0 late in the first half but shot wide after getting alone behind the Auckland City defense.

Auckland City played with more desperation after the break and Manel Esposito came close midway through the second half with a right-footed shot from close range that sailed over the crossbar.

Auckland’s best scoring chance came late in the second half from a free kick by Dave Mulligan from the top of the area that was deflected over the crossbar by Kashiwa goalkeeper Takenori Sugano.

Sugano made another spectacular save minutes later on a header from Ivan Vicelich.

“We got better as the match went on,” Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx said. “I thought we put on a good performance. We didn’t get the result we wanted but it was a good experience for our players.”

Semiprofessional Auckland was making its third appearance in the tournament.

African champion Esperance Sportive De Tunis meet Asian Champions League winner Al-Sadd in the second of the two quarterfinals on Sunday.

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