World Soccer Comes to UAE

DUBAI — The spirit and dash shown by the UAE’s Al Ahli and New Zealand’s Auckland City FC during the opening match of the sixth $16.5 million Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi gave the event the right kind of tonic at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.

By Moni Mathews

Published: Fri 11 Dec 2009, 12:49 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:28 AM

The seven-team tournament with two venues, the other being the magnificent Shaikh Zayed Stadium, will run till December 19.

Auckland won the closely fought affair 2-0.

A diverse set of performances by professionals, volunteers and local schoolchildren featured the gala opening session before the all-whites from the southern hemisphere took on the Red Shirts from Qusais, Dubai.

The ceremony was a true depiction and homage to the culture and passion for soccer in the UAE, as well as the influences of the home countries of each of the competing clubs. The champion sides of each continent are playing in a knockout format for the title of being the world club champions.

Manchester United defeated LDU Quito (Ecuador) 1–0 in Yokohama in December last, to become the first British team to win the competition.

Current Euro champs Barcelona are the favourites to lift the trophy in Abu Dhabi this year, the first time the event is being held in this part of the world.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Chairman of National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority, Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Presidential Affairs, other shaikhs and senior officials of FIFA and the UAE were among those who attended the opening ceremony.

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