Cruz Azul was unable to match Mexico’s best result in a Club World Cup, falling to Auckland City on penalties after a 1-1 draw. With that result, Auckland City makes history, earning their best-ever result in their sixth appearance in the tournament. No Oceania representative had ever finished higher than fifth before now.
As for Cruz Azul, they end their first participation in the Club World Cup with a fourth-place finish, tying the results of América (2006), Pachuca (2008) and Atlante (2009).
Auckland was the revelation of the tournament, with the New Zealanders upsetting Moghreb Tétouan in the play-in round and ES Sétif in the quarterfinals, before taking CONMEBOL champion San Lorenzo to overtime in the semifinals.
Their Cinderlla story continued in the third-place match, where they took the lead against the favored Cruz Azul. Ryan de Vries gave Auckland the lead just before halftime when he escaped down the right to chase down a hopeful-looking long ball. De Vries beat “Cata” Domínguez to the ball, entered the box, and shot past Jesús Corona from close range to make it 1-0 for the Kiwis.
Cruz Azul looked for an immediate response in the second half, and Mauro Formica had the ball in the back of the net in the 53rd minute, but his header was disallowed for offside. La Máquina continued to press, though, and they got their reward moments later: in the 56th minute, Joao Rojas tied the game at 1-1. His initial header hit a defender, but the ball rebounded to his feet and he put the chance away.
Neither team was able to find a second, despite the best efforts of both sides. Cruz Azul’s chances included a scissor kick from Marco Fabián in the 61st and a header from Formica in the 83rd, while Jesús Corona was forced into a great save in the 73rd to prevent Auckland from retaking the lead.
When referee Pedro Proenca brought the game to a close still tied at 1-1, the game went to penalty kicks to determine the winner (there was no overtime period).
In the penalty shootout, Tim Payne, Darren White, James Pritchett and Sanni Issa scored for Auckland with John Irving hitting the crossbar, while Christian Giménez and Francisco Rodríguez scored for Cruz Azul while Mauro Formica skied his attempt and Ismael Valadéz had his saved. The final tally was 4-2 in favor of Auckland, who captured third place.
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Gerardo Flores, Julio César Domínguez, Francisco Rodríguez, Xavier Baez (Christian Giménez 46′), Joao Rojas, Marco Fabián (Mariano Pavone 85′), Gerardo Torrado, Alejandro Vela, Mauro Formica, Ismael Valadéz.
Auckland: Jacob Spoonley, Takuya Iwata, John Irving, Ivan Vicelich (Cameron Lindsay 80′), Tim Payne, Darren White, Sam Burfoot (Sanni Issa 57′), Mario Bilem, Emiliano Tade (James Pritchett 90′), Fabrizio Tavano, Ryan de Vries.