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Auckland City learn club World Cup foe

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/12/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Auckland City FC are wary of the quality of their Japanese opponents in the first round of the club World Cup.</span> © Getty Auckland City FC are wary of the quality of their Japanese opponents in the first round of the club World Cup. Auckland City FC will face newly-crowned Japanese champions Kashima Antlers in the opening match of club World Cup in Yokohama.

Kashima sealed their berth as the host nation's club by winning the two-leg J-League final on Saturday.

Trailing the favoured Red Diamonds 1-0 after the first leg, Kashima produced a 2-1 upset in Saitama to level the aggregate 2-2 and clinch the title on away goals.

Auckland City FC captain Angel Berlanga says while Kashima are his preferred opponents for Thursday's game, he urges caution.

"Kashima Antlers are a pretty good team and we have to take care of them," he said.

"It's very difficult to take something from finals because normally in finals you don't play the way you want to because there's a lot of excitement and emotion."

Auckland City FC were eliminated in the first round of the annual seven-club tournament last year, beaten 2-0 by Japanese club Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

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