x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Dickinson: The greatest moment of my life

The Auckland City striker Adam Dickinson hails his side's 2-0 win over Al Ahli in the Club World Cup as the greatest success of his life.

ABU DHABI // The Auckland City striker Adam Dickinson hailed his side's 2-0 win over Al Ahli in the Club World Cup last night as the greatest success of his life. The 23-year-old, who joined the New Zealand-based club from English League Two side Tranmere Rovers, opened the scoring at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium last night, converting a Jason Hayne cross from six yards. Chad Coombes secured the victory for the Oceanic Champions League winners with a rasping drive from 25 yards after 67 minutes.

The win is Auckland's first in the Club World Cup after being sent home in 2006 without scoring a goal. "That is by far the best achievement of my life," said Liverpool-born Dickinson, who was making his first start of the season after missing the past seven months through injury. "It's unbelievable. To play and to score in a tournament like this, it's incredible.To score the first goal is just a dream come true."

Auckland will now face Mexican side Atlante in the quarter-finals on Saturday and Dickinson says they go into the match with the Concacaf champions high on confidence. "To get to stay here for another 10 days is just going to be so good. We're obviously going to come in as underdogs again, but we came in like that for this game. "We came in with a plan, stuck to our plan and we've won so we'll be doing the same again. Atlante will obviously be another step up because they are a very good team, but we have to believe we can win."

Coombes, who was filling in at right back for the injured James Pritchard, helped Auckland extend their unbeaten run, which dates back to March 13. "We thought that if we could hold them out for the first 20 minutes and get our shape right we could push on and get a result and that's exactly what we did. "We knew going in at half-time that we were in a good position, but we also knew there was still a lot to be done.

"Their strikers are dangerous, but once I got the second one, it took the pressure off us a little bit." Coombes, a full-time PE teacher in New Zealand, said last night's win was the greatest achievement in the club's history. "We played in Japan and lost twice, so to win here is pretty big - it's probably the biggest actually," he said. "We lost in the last tournament 2-0 and 3-0, so to score is pretty wicked too.

"Atlante will be very interesting. We heard they celebrated when they heard the draw, so we'll be ready to give it a good crack. We work hard and we'll be ready to do our best." gmeenaghan@thenational.ae