x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Posa's Auckland City amateurs could not recover in time

Watching your team being brutally dismantled 3-0 would be like pulling teeth for most coaches, but not Auckland City's.

ABU DHABI // Watching your team being brutally dismantled 3-0 would be like pulling teeth for most coaches. Thankfully, Auckland City's Paul Posa, a full-time dentist who owns his own practice in New Zealand's second city, is used to such experiences. "It was a very difficult game for us," said Posa after his side's defeat to Mexicans Atlante, the Concacaf champions. "Atlante are the best team Auckland City has ever faced, in my opinion. Their quality caused us a lot of problems. But that's football, I have no complaints."

Having dispatched the UAE's Al Ahli in the tournament's opener, Posa said that the 72-hour gap between his side's matches was not enough for the weary amateurs. "Three days was not enough recovery time for our boys," said Posa. "We put so much into the Al Ahli match so coming into a game of this quality, against opposition of Atlante's standard, was difficult. We've been taught a footballing lesson tonight and although my boys played their hearts out, it wasn't quite enough."

Posa, however, does not see any reason to change the Club World Cup draw - which grants byes to teams from traditional powerhouse continents. "There are no complaints about the format," said Posa. "We came here to develop and improve, and the Club World Cup is definitely helping football in our region and us to raise the bar at our club." Auckland will rest easy knowing their fifth and sixth play-off match against TP Mazembe, the African representatives, both sides' last in the competition, does not fall until Wednesday.

And for Posa, who cleared his appointment book for the tournament, the timing is perfect. "I got the appointments spot on," he said. "I cleared them until the end of this week; the correct amount of time." emegson@thenational.ae