AS Pirae became the first side from Tahiti to play in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Al Jazira – AS Pirae 4-1
They faced a tough opponent in UAE champions Al Jazira, and things were made even more difficult when seven of their players were forced out of the scquad due to testing positive for Covid before traveling to Abu Dhabi for the match.
When the game kicked off Thursday evening local time at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, it sadly didn’t take long for the home side to go ahead.
Only five minutes played when Zayed Alameri put the UAE team in the lead after some nice play down their left-hand side.
A second goal followed 20 minutes later, a bit of a lucky bounce and a tap in, before a third was disallowed for handball.
Four minutes before half-time Al Jazira would have their third, when Milos Kosanovic sent a nicely taken free-kick into the bottom corner. That meant the hosts had a comfortable 3-0 lead going into the break.
At half-time Al Jazira substituted their goalkeeper, and only two minutes into the second half, Pirae pulled one back. A bit of luck was involved as cross hit the foot of Al Jazira defender Mohammed Rabii, who smashed the ball via the post and into his own net.
Just past the hour mark Al Jazira’s three goal advantage was restored when right winger Abdoulay Diaby curled a shot into the far side netting.
The game came to a close, with the score at 4-1, but despite going out, Tahitian side AS Pirae showed sparks of life and can be proud of their performance.