Sanfrecce Hiroshima who were crowned J-League champions for the first time in their history, secured passage to the quarter finals of the 2012 Fifa Club World Cup after defeating Auckland City.
The New Zealanders who were making their second consecutive appearance in the competition frustrated their Japanese opponents with their sturdy defence. Toshihiro Aoyama's 66th minute strike was eventually enough to knock Auckland out but Sanfrecce's lack of match sharpness was telling in the 1-0 victory.
"We were not able to train properly, however the players have done their best to be prepared and they were highly motivated," revealed Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu.
"On the 24th of November we were able to clinch the championship and we've had a lot of events after that and then coming into this week we had the J-League awards and many events. We also had media events as well, so we weren't able to get enough time to concentrate on training environmentally.
"The result was that we were only able to score one goal, but we created many chances. We're preparing for the second match now but there are only two rest days, so i hope the players can adjust their condition and be at their best in the next match and win that and move on further."
With his side having had the larger share of possession in the match, Moriyasu added that it was part of his gameplan as well to shut the Kiwis out.
"I told the players to move the ball around in a simple manner, so that it would become easier to move on to the next action and the off the ball players could move easily," he said at the post-match conference.
"I also told them that if we extended our possession time, we could avoid being overtaken by Auckland's physical strength."
Auckland's Ramon Tribulietx, was not too disappointed with his team's efforts and lauded them for their performance saying:"It's tough to not be satisfied with how we played. We're an amateur club so playing against a team like Sanfrecce in Japan is difficult. We lost 1-0, but we had a chance to draw in the end. We'll go home with our heads held high."
"It was a tough match for us. It was hard for us to earn a turnover. We wanted to focus on holding onto the ball once we got it. At the end of the half we were tired, but we played like I wanted us to play in terms of our method and style. If we defended too aggressively we might have let in 6 or 7 goals. But today we played well."
Tribulietx also explained that the only way to bridge the gap between his side and the rest of the Asian teams is to move away from their amateur status.
"Each of the players is working 8 hours a day," he pointed out.
"So the only way that will happen is if we go pro."
Sanfrecce will next play Al Ahly of Egypt on December 9 at the Toyota Stadium.