The first half got off to a slow start with Al Jazira surprisingly willing to give Auckland City more of the ball, and sit in a slightly deep variation of a 4-4-2, with Mbark Boussoufa playing just off the striker Ali Mabkhout. The Pride of Abu Dhabi relied on the pace and skill of the wingers, Romarinho and Khalfan Mubarak, to help them reach the opposition penalty box. Khalfan Mubarak did break through a couple of times, and dazzled fans with his exquisite technique.
Despite keeping more of the possession, Auckland City were unable to translate their dominance into shots and only managed to threaten Al Jazira once in the first 20 minutes, when a shot was deflected for a corner by Fares Juma.
In the 30th minute, Auckland City finally broke through, but a shot by Callum McCowatt was saved by Ali Khaseif after a cutback from the latter’s teammate. But it was just 8 minutes later when Al Jazira opened the scoring with a powerful shot by Romarinho from outside the box, helped by a cute back pass from Ali Mabkhout.
In the second half, Auckland continued to dominate and even started to become more threatening with their shots. Al Jazira were kept quiet and only had one attempt off target, unlike Auckland took their tally to 8 shots in total. This wasn’t enough for Auckland to get the equalizer against Al Jazira, who won the game and progressed to the next round, where they will face Urawa Reds.