San Lorenzo survive grueling test to set final date vs. Real Madrid

BY Jerry Trecker • December 17, 2014

The Auckland City adventure is over, but not before the Cinderella side from Oceania took favored San Lorenzo to extra time in Marrakech Wednesday night.

The South Americans ultimately prevailed, a quick goal in extra time staking them to their 2-1 triumph and a place in Saturday's FIFA World Club final (live, FOX Sports 2, 1:30 p.m. ET), but they didn't have it at all easy and will need to be far better if they are to interrupt Real Madrid's 21-match winning streak in order to claim the trophy.

Real Madrid advanced to the championship match with a 4-0 triumph over Cruz Azul of Mexico on Tuesday and will be expected to claim its first FIFA Club World Cup title. Auckland City will get one more game on their unexpectedly long stay in Morroco as they face Cruz Azul in the third place match (live, FOX Sports 2, 10:30 a.m. ET), also on Saturday.

San Lorenzo, which qualified by winning the Copa Libertadores, never seemed to get a firm grip on the match against a courageous, hard-working New Zealand club that had emerged as the surprise of the competition. They did break on top when Pablo Barrientos scored in the first half stoppage time, but Auckland City answered that with 23 minutes left when Angel Berlanga scored from an acute angle so that an extra 30 minutes were required to settle the opponent for the Madrid giants.

San Lorenzo's Barrientos produced a quality piece of finishing as the first half came a close, collecting the final pass of a four-pass build up, before popping the ball up to get a half-volley shot which flew into the near corner. It was the first goal that the tenacious Auckland defense had allowed in the competition, which included an opening night scoreless draw against host Maghreb Tetouan which was resolved by penalties.

Berlanga's equalizer came in the 67th minute when he profited from a simple touch-on from Ryan DeVries which allowed the scorer to break free on the right. Berlanga cut his shot back across goal from virtually the right byeline, giving Sebastian Torrico little chance to react in the San Lorenzo goal.

It took only three minutes of the first extra period for San Lorenzo to get on top, with substitute Mauro Matos pounding in a drive from the right side of the box after he exchanged a one-two with Leandro Romagnoli on the dge of the box. John Irving tried to get the ball away, but his clearance fell sweetly for Matos' strike.

The New Zealanders, playing their third match in eight days, their second to go extra time, didn't have an answer for Matos' goal, losing influential Marko Dordevic to a leg injury as fatigue clearly played a part in the match. Their tactics of defending in depth but trying to get forward when the opportunity prevailed took them further than had been expected in their sixth appearance in this event.

Their last hope to force penalties faded when Tim Payne nicked the post in the second extra period.

In the fifth place match played earlier Wednesday Entente Setif-Algeria defeated Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers 5-4 on penalty kicks after the teams played a 2-2 draw.

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