Hiroshima through as goal-line system debuts
Hiroshima through as goal-line system debuts
The J-League winners proved too strong for their New Zealand opponents, who were representing Oceania at the intercontinental tournament in Japan, to set up a quarterfinal clash with seven-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt.
FIFA made football history by trailing the first of two goal-line systems to be used at the showpiece event, however the match in Yokohama passed without GoalRef’s magnetic field technology being required to determine a close call.
Instead, a dramatic strike from Hiroshima’s Toshihiro Aoyama left the human eye in no doubt about whether a goal had been scored, with the ball hitting the back of the net in style.
The Japanese champions dominated possession in the first half, but several good saves from Auckland goalkeeper Tamati Williams — including one from close range — meant the two sides went into the break locked at 0-0.
Hiroshima started the second half with intent, hitting the post from a 20-yard strike on the 50-minute mark before having a header tipped wide shortly afterwards.
The New Zealanders, whose players included a lawyer and a plumber, started to tire and Hiroshima broke the deadlock in dramatic fashion after 66 minutes when midfielder Aoyama lashed the ball into the net from around 30 yards.
The men in purple looked keen to add to their tally but wasted a number of opportunities, going closest with a vicious strike that struck the bar with six minutes of the match remaining as a second goal proved elusive.
They survived a lucky scare at the death but ran out worthy winners and coach Hajime Moriyasu was pleased with the professionalism shown by his players.
“They were highly motivated,” he said. “We only scored one goal, however we were able to create many, many chances. The players were very aggressive in the offense and we played our style (of football).” Auckland coach Ramon Tribulietx said his players should be proud of their performance.
“We have to be very happy with the game we played,” the Spaniard said.
“Don’t forget we are an amateur side, and coming up here and playing Hiroshima in Japan is very hard for us. We can hold our heads up high.” Hiroshima, who won their maiden J-League title last month, on Sunday will play Al Ahly in Toyota where FIFA are trailing the second goal line system — camera-based Hawk-Eye.
Fans have called for years for football to embrace technology aimed at eliminating human error, citing its use in other sports including tennis and cricket.
In July, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) — custodians of the game’s laws — decided to use goal-line technology at the Club World Cup, next year’s Confederations Cup and the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
FIFA gave licenses to Britain-based but Sony-owned Hawk-Eye and Germany’s GoalRef, following a testing process lasting around two years.
Both systems transmit their findings to devices that can be worn on officials’ wrists. Thursday’s game was the first time that officials had ever worn the watch-like device during a match.
European champions Chelsea and Copa Liberdatores winners Corinthians enter the Club World Cup at the semi-final stage.
Al-Hilal boss Jorge Jesus reveals Omar Abdulrahman will make debut in Super Cup clash in London
- New boss Jorge Jesus to give start to new star signing after $17 million move from Al-Ain last week.
- Al-Hilal coach keen to put on a good show in London and start season with silverware against Al-Ittihad.
LONDON: Jorge Jesus confirmed Omar Abdulrahman will make his Al-Hilal debut in the Saudi Super Cup final against Al-Ittihad on Saturday.
The UAE playmaker joined the Saudi Pro League champions last week in a loan deal from Al-Ain that was worth $17 million, a fee that has only been surpassed once in football history.
The 26-year-old has been training with his new teammates at English football’s HQ at St. George’s Park this week and traveled down to London on Friday with the rest of the team ahead of the showpiece game at Loftus Road.
Abdulrahman has not played since May, when Al-Ain were dumped out of the AFC Champions League by Lekhwiya, and he was not considered for the Arab Club Champions Club on Sunday, but Jesus said the 2016 Asian Player of the Year is line to make his first appearance for his boyhood club this weekend.
“Omar is training with the team for five or six days,” said Jesus. “Intelligent players like Omar learn fast, so that’s why he will be part of the game.”
There are various subplots to the game in west London, not least the fact that Al-Ittihad coach Ramon Diaz comes up against the club that fired him in February. He won the double in the first season in Riyadh and then choreographed Al-Hilal’s run to the final of the AFC Champions League in his second. Now he goes up against Jesus, the Portuguese tactician who replaced him this summer.
“It’s true Diaz could know the players more and this could influence the match, but they are working with my ideas today and I expect the match to be an excellent game,” said Jesus.
Al-Hilal lost the Super Cup the last time it was held in London, losing to Al-Ahli on penalties in a thriller at Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground. Jesus knows this year’s match could provide a launchpad for the season ahead and broaden the appeal of football in the Kingdom.
“Everybody knows the importance of this match, because we play outside Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It represents the image of our football. We are happy to be present in London and play the Saudi Super Cup here. The eyes of Europe sees London as the center of football, so we need to create a good image of Saudi football.”
Jorge Jesus is looking to get his reign as Al-Hilal coach off to a winning start at QPR's Loftus Road ground on Saturday.
Jesus will be without the injured Salman Al-Faraj, Abdullah Otayf and Nawaf Al-Abed while national team full-back Yasser Al-Shahrani will undergo a late fitness test.
“We are missing some players but that should not reduce the importance of some players we have in the squad,” said Jesus. “We have to find our best combination of players to go to the match with.”
Mohammad Al-Shalhoub will captain the side from midfield following the departure of Osama Hawsawi and knows bragging rights are up for grabs on Saturday between Saudi Arabia’s two most successful clubs who have won the top prize in the Kingdom 23 times between them.
“It’s one match, there is no other chance,” he said. “We will do our best to win the cup. We can start the season well if we win this cup. We will fight hard to win, but Ittihad is doing their hardest to win it, too. We are super motivated to show a good level and start with a Saudi Super Cup victory.”
Al-Hilal labored to a 1-0 win over Al-Shabab on Sunday night and know they will need to be much nearer their best against last season’s King’s Cup winners.
“In the beginning of the season, you can have some difficulties,“ Al-Shalhoub said. “Our first home game in the Arab Cup we showed a good level, but we have to me more ready against Ittihad.”