The National – Friday, December 10, 2010
By HENRY MORABANG in Abu Dhabi – UAE
HOST Al Wahda ended Hekari’s FIFA Club World Cup dream giving the O-League champions a 3-0 drubbing at the Mohammed bin Jayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (yesterday morning PNG time).
It was a historic win for the Abu Dhabi-based side on the world stage, banishing bitter memories of last year’s tournament for the host nation when Al Ahli of Dubai suffered a shock defeat at the hands of another side from Oceania, Auckland City.
Two goals from Brazilian imports midfielder Hugo and striker Fernando Baiano in the later part of the opening half were enough to spoil the party for the newcomers on the Club World Cup stage.
PNG had several chances but Al Wahda’s defence coupled with wrong options by Heakri’s forwards in the first half denied them the chance to catch the nervy Emiratis on the back foot.
Striker Osea Vakatalesau, Henry Fa’arodo and Kema Jack failed to convert tight chances in the match and, in the end, that proved the difference as the Arabs took a 2-0 lead into the break.
At the resumption of play, PNG came back strongly but Al Wadha seemed to be in total control in front of a capacity crowd of 23,895. Fifa president Joseph Sepp Blatter graced the ceremonial opening of this annual tournament being held in UAE for the second time turning the attention of football fans once again to the region which is celebrating the awarding of organising the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Supported by home crowd, the professional outfit, Al Wadha gave the island boys a good lesson to learn on the world stage.
Hekari held Al Wadha until 71st minute when replacement Abdulraheem Jumma scored to put the game out of reach 3-0.
Brazilians Hugo and Fernando Baiano struck within the space of four minutes before the interval to virtually seal the fate of Hekari in this playoff match while substitute Abdulraheem Jumaa added the icing to their victory with his 71st minute goal to the delight of the nearly 24,000 mostly Wahdawi fans who created a lively atmosphere to this momentous occasion.
Al Wahda qualified to meet Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma FC of South Korea in a quarter-final on Saturday.
Hekari United surprised the hosts when they threatened to score off the first corner of the match in the fifth minute. Fahad Masoud stood in the way of a pin point header at the near post from Pita Bolatoga.
Coach Tommy Mana congratulate host for their win.
He admitted that his boys were outclassed in all facet of the game in both offensive and defensive.
Mana said his only regret was that Alick Maemae and Stanley Waita were not part of the team after helping the team qualify for this tournament.
The Solomon Island coach said his boys tried their very best but the better team on the team won the match.
“Everyone played their best at the highest level of football and I am really proud of all the boys tonight,” he said.
“We have picked up few things on the way in this tournament and will be prepared for the next year’s tournament in Japan if we defend the O- League title,” he said.
Mana said Hekari lost to Al Wadha but they will have to return and concentrate on their domestic and regional tournament.
He cannot singled any outstanding player saying all starting 11 plus their reserve gave their best on the night.