Semi-professional Team Wellington were narrowly denied a fairytale victory at the Club World Cup as host side Al Ain triumphed on penalties after a 3-3 thriller.
But one of the New Zealand side’s part-time stars will leave the UAE with a moment to treasure forever after opening the scores with an unbelievable 30-metre screamer (watch in the video player below).
Argentine midfielder Mario Barcia scored with a dipping long-range shot in the 11th minute that will take some beating for goal of the tournament, in a competition also featuring powerhouses Real Madrid and River Plate.
Part timer’s 30m worldie
The talented 29-year-old has played professionally in Bolivia and Argentina in the past but plies multiple trades in New Zealand these days, according to this social media user:
Al Ain came back from three goals down to win on penalties in a dramatic first round match in Abu Dhabi.
Goalkeeper Khalid Eisa saved two penalties in the shootout in Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning (AEDT) to earn his team a second round tie against African champions Esperance, of Tunisia, on Sunday morning.
Team Wellington, the Oceania champions, got off to a flying start thanks to Barcia and Aaron Clapham finished off an incisive passing move for the second four minutes later.
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Mooy OUT of Asian Cup
Mario Ilich added a third for the semi-professionals in the 44th minute, tapping in unmarked at the post from a corner.
But New Zealanders allowed the hosts to get a morale-boosting goal on the stroke of halftime with Tsukasa Shiotani slotting home.
Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic said that proved the turning point.
“It was really hard to come back, thank God we scored in the first half. That goal gave us some spirit and some chance to come back in the second half.”
Tongo Doubmia further reduced the deficit when he turned in a cross at the far post four minutes after halftime.
Al Ain, playing at their home Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, dominated the second half as Wellington appeared to run out of steam and Marcus Berg hooked in the equaliser in the 85th minute.
Al Ain’s Mohamed Abdulrahman was sent off just before the end of extra time after being shown a second yellow card for a foul on Wellington’s Taylor Schrijvers.
Berg missed Al Ain’s second penalty in the shootout, firing wildly over, but his blushes were spared when Eisa saved Angus Kilkolly’s next attempt for the New Zealanders and also parried Justin Gulley’s final kick to seal victory. The winners of Saturday’s clash between Al Ain and Esperance will face South American champions River Plate in next Tuesday’s semi-final. The second semi-final will be between favourites Real Madrid and the winners of Saturday’s other second-round tie between Asia’s Kashima Antlers and Mexican side Guadalajara, the champions of CONCACAF.
A cracking goal from Nabil Fekir saw Lyon snatch up the final spot in the Champions League Round of 16 on a sensational night of action.
There were big upsets, stunners, a ridiculous own goal and a karate-style red card as the group stage wrapped up in remarkable fashion.
WATCH EVERY GOAL:
Goal frenzy as Giants fall
Big guns Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Roma were all beaten.
HERE’S A FULL WRAP OF THE OVERNIGHT ACTION….
SHAKHTAR DONETSK 1-1 LYON
Lyon scraped into the knockout rounds of the Champions League after salvaging a 1-1 draw away to a tenacious Shakhtar Donetsk team on Wednesday.
Playing in freezing sleet in Kiev after the game was relocated due to martial law, Shakhtar took the lead through Junior Moraes and held on for more than 40 minutes thanks to a string of saves from Andriy Pyatov.
However, Nabil Fekir hit a shot into the top-left corner in the 65th minute to give Lyon the point it needed to secure second place in Group F behind Manchester City. While Lyon did enough to qualify, the draw leaves the French team on a four-game winless run in all competitions.
VALENCIA 2-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester United squandered the chance to win their Champions League group on Wednesday after a lacklustre display got what it deserved in a 2-1 defeat to Valencia.
Already through to the last 16, Jose Mourinho made eight changes at the Mestalla, including a return for Paul Pogba, but United were largely outplayed by their Spanish opponents, who sit 15th in La Liga.
Carlos Soler’s driven shot and a Phil Jones own-goal put Valencia two up early in the second half before United came alive in the final minutes after Marcus Rashford’s header gave them brief hope.
Perhaps Mourinho and his players had assumed Juventus would win away at Young Boys but the Italians’ surprise 2-1 loss meant United had first place within their grasp.
Great finish…wrong goal
REAL MADRID 0-3 CSKA MOSCOW
CSKA Moscow handed Real Madrid its worst ever European home loss – and got nothing in reward.
CSKA beat Madrid 3-0 on Wednesday for its second straight win over the defending Champions League holders, but it still finished in last place in their group and missed out on a Europa League spot.
The Russian team finished behind Viktoria Plzen, which defeated Roma 2-1. CSKA need to better Plzen’s result in the Czech Republic to finish third, with both teams already out of contention for the Champions League knockout stage.
Pogba throws away huge chance
MANCHESTER CITY 2-1 HOFFENHEIM
Leroy Sane scored two goals, including a free kick from 30 meters, as Manchester City came from behind to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and secure first place in its Champions League group on Wednesday.
Insane strike from Sane
City recovered from losing its opening game in Group F – 2-1 at home to Lyon – to finish top by five points, and advance to the round of 16 for the sixth straight year as it bids to become European champion for the first time. Despite being assured of a top-two finish, City manager Pep Guardiola fielded a strong team in a bid to clinch first place, but saw his side fall behind to Andrej Kramaric’s 16th-minute penalty.
AJAX 3-3 BAYERN MUNICH
Nicolas Tagliafico scored a stoppage-time equalizer as Ajax salvaged a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bayern Munich that saw the German side top Champions League Group E.
Robert Lewandowski scored twice and substitute Kingsley Coman looked to have grabbed a winner for Bayern in the 90th minute before defender Tagliafico tapped in the equalizer five minutes into stoppage time of a match that saw both sides have a man sent off and both awarded a penalty by referee Clement Turpin. Both teams were sure of progressing to the round of 16 ahead of the match at Johan Cruyff Arena and Bayern needed only a draw to ensure top spot. With group victory at stake, the two teams put on a memorable show.
YOUNG BOYS 2-1 JUVENTUS
Juventus lost 2-1 at Young Boys in the Champions League, joining Real Madrid on Wednesday as a group winner which had already qualified before losing to a last-placed team.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit a post with an 87th-minute header for Juventus, and played the full game despite the plastic playing surface at Stade de Suisse and temperatures below freezing in Bern.
Ronaldo was also responsible for a stoppage-time equalizer being ruled out for offside when he leaped in front of goalkeeper Marco Woelfli to try to divert Paulo Dybala’s shot that rose into the top corner of the goal. Dybala had cut the deficit for Juve, scoring from a powerful shot in the 80th only eight minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Veteran forward Guillaume Hoarau starred for Young Boys with goals in the 30th and 68th minutes.
Horrific injury, or carry on?
BENFICA 1-0 AEK ATHENS
Benfica finished its Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win over AEK Athens on Wednesday.
Both teams were out of contention for the knockout stage, and Benfica had already secured third place and a spot in the round of 32 of the Europa League. Alex Grimaldo scored the winner in the 88th minute with a well-struck free kick over the wall.
VIKTORIA PLZEN 2-1 ROMA
Viktoria Plzen beat struggling Roma 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday to earn a Europa League spot.
Tomas Chory scored the winner with a diving header after Cengiz Under had canceled out Jan Kovarik’s opener – with all three goals coming over a 16-minute span in the second half.
The victory meant Plzen finished third in Group G.