Wellington exceeded expectations: Figueira

Wellington exceeded expectations: Figueira
Al Ain FC's Caio vies for the ball with Wellington FC's Justin Gulley (Photo by Ryan Lim)

Abu Dhabi - Wellington were unlucky to have lost after leading Al Ain 3-0

By Ashwani Kumar

Published: Thu 13 Dec 2018, 9:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Dec 2018, 11:20 PM

Team Wellington, the teeny-weeny bunch of semi-professionals from New Zealand, gave a harrowing time to 'Boss' in the Fifa Club World Cup first round encounter.
Wellington were unlucky to have lost after leading Al Ain 3-0.  Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira was upset, but noted his players exceeded expectations on tournament debut.
"The final result hurts but I am proud of the way my players performed. This is an atmosphere which is very different to what we are used to. As amateur players with amateur resources, to come somewhere like this and perform like this was almost beyond expectation," he said.
Skipper Justin Gulley and striker Angus Kilkolly failed to convert their spot kicks and Figueira felt it was one of the cruelest ways to exit a tournament. "Penalties are about small moments. Unfortunately those moments fell for them," he said.
"It is disappointing to give up a three-goal lead. I have to apologise to my players. We asked so much from them and pushed them to the limit. The goal just before half time was unfortunate for us. We survived a couple of early scares but that goal took the wind out of the sails. And an early goal in the second half was unfortunate."
But the coach says his team has what it takes to return to this competition next year.
"Unfortunately in football there has to be a loser. This is a cruel way to go but we will take it on the chin and bounce back," he said. 
"For us the result is probably a bigger motivation to come back and perform at this level again, and hopefully go one better than what we have done."

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