Auckland City draw 1-1 with Barcelona B in third warm-up game for Club World Cup

posted in: FIFA Club World Cup, News

Auckland City have drawn 1-1 against Barçelona B in a friendly match at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper in Spain.

The match was the third game used by City to prepare for next week’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.

The Men’s National League Championship, Chatham Cup, Northern League and OFC Champions League winners gave as good as they got against a Barcelona B side sitting fifth in their competition and featuring some of the club’s most promising talent.

City coach Albert Riera was happy with the performance and result with the Club World Cup now moving sharply into focus.

“It was one of those games where you’re not expected to have the ball a lot against a very very good team in Barcelona B.

“But it was the best test for us before heading off to Morocco and our performance was very good, very positive and we had the ball in good spells.

“Overall our defensive discipline and our courage was very good and we had some good chances and maybe could have won the game.

“It’s massive for us to score a goal here at Barcelona B – my speech to the players before the game was to have the approach that we’re going to have in Morocco.

“Our approach today was to not concede anything, be very disciplined and clever when we have the ball because normally at this level of football you don’t get that opportunity often and I thought we did that very well.

“We conceded an unfortunate goal but apart from that overall we didn’t concede many clear cut chances to a top team with a lot of quality. But there are a lot of things for us to improve on and we’re going to try to do that,” Riera said.

One for the history books … Barcelona and Auckland City players line up together. Photo: Barcelona FC.

Barcelona B started the game at a fast pace and penned City in for the first 20 minutes with defender Alpha Diounkou hitting the crossbar with a long range strike and Emre Demir forcing Conor Tracey into a good save after he steered a cross from the club’s new signing from Argentina, Lucas Román, goalwards.

Ryan De Vries – who made his 150th appearance for City – had the best chance of the first half when he skied a volley over goalkeeper Victor Barbera’s crossbar after a rare slip by a Barcelona B defender.

But it was the hosts who took the lead when a high ball sent in from the right deceived Tracey allowing Sergi Rosanas to steer home from close range on 53 minutes.

The game opened up after that as both teams made changes with future challenges in mind. City created three chances in quick succession with a Joe Lee effort cleared off the line, another for substitute Liam Gillion scrambled away, and then a reasonable shout for a penalty when Emiliano Tade appeared to be fouled in the box.

Barcelona B continued to threaten on the counter attack but their momentum was halted when Cam Howieson’s clever pass allowed Tade to break their defensive line and lob a cute finish over the head of substitute goalkeeper Arnau Rafus to make it 1-1.

De Vries said the experience of playing Barcelona B was a special setting to mark 150 games for the club and just the lift City needed ahead of the Club World Cup.

“We knew it was going to be tough, they’re a class outfit and they move the ball around very well and we had good patches and passed the ball well. This was our last game before the Club World Cup and a very good result for us.

“I feel great to reach 150 games for City, especially here. There’s not many players who reach a milestone like this and can say they did it at Barcelona B. I feel honoured,” De Vries said.

Riera summed up the feeling within the squad when he assessed De Vries contribution to the club over the past decade.

“Ryan De Vries is a fantastic player and a good character to have around. His quality is unique in New Zealand and I’m very happy to have him here. He’s always helping the young players and everyone looks up to him.

“I think Ryan will give us a lot in the game we have soon in Morocco so I’m very happy for him in achieving this milestone and I’m sure he’ll do well in Tangiers,” he said.

Auckland City FC have one last day of training at the Futbol Salou Sports Complex in Salou, Catalonia, tomorrow before departing in the early hours of 27 January for their team base camp at Tetouan, Morocco.

Main photo: Action from the game between Barcelona and Auckland City. Photo: Barcelona FC.

Reaction from coach Albert Riera

Auckland City line-up

1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 5.Nikko BOXALL (4. Christian GRAY), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Gerard GARRIGA (6. Taukya IWATA), 10. Dylan MANICKUM (19. Liam GILLION), 11. Ryan DE VRIES (20. Emiliano TADE), 12. Regont MURATI (15. Aidan CAREY), 13. Nathan LOBO, 16. Joe LEE, 21. Mike den HEIJER (2. Mario ILICH).

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Finn DOCKERTY (GK), 22. Adam BELL, 24. Cam BROWN (GK)

INJURED: 6. Dan MORGAN, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 23. Matt ELLIS.

UNAVAILABLE: 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Reid DRAKE.



Game played on Wednesday January 25, 2023

Barcelona B 1 (Sergi Rosanas)
Auckland City 1 (Emiliano Tade)


FIFA Club World Cup (1st round)

Game to be played on Thursday February 2, 2023

Auckland City v Al Ahly (Egypt)
Tangiers, Morocco (8am NZT)

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