Part-timers Waitakere pick fight with Adelaide

TOKYO - New Zealand part-timers Waitakere United are looking to give "big brother" Adelaide United a bloody nose in Thursday's opening game of the Club World Cup.

Waitakere will be huge underdogs but captain Danny Hay promised the fierce trans-Tasman rivalry between the countries would give his side added incentive.

"It most definitely does give us extra motivation," the former Leeds United defender told reporters on Wednesday. "New Zealand and Australia have always got a massive rivalry.

"We're like the little brothers. They're the big brother -- you always want to get one over on the big brother, don't you?

"In every sport in New Zealand we always want to beat the Aussies. They're our major rivals first and foremost."

Waitakere will also hope to exorcise the demons after a horror start to last year's Club World Cup when they surrendered two goals five minutes into the tournament opener.

They eventually lost 3-1 to Iran's Sepahan and FIFA have faced criticism about the tournament's credibility after teams from Oceania have routinely struggled.

"We came off the pitch with a whole lot of 'What ifs?' and there's nothing worse than that as a footballer," said Hay. "What if we hadn't let those two early goals in?

"We've had a whole year thinking if only we get another chance and we've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to right the wrongs. We felt we let ourselves down."


Hay does not expect to be around by the time European champions Manchester United jet into Japan early next week to play their semi-final.

It would take a minor miracle for Waitakere's teachers, builders and salesmen to beat Adelaide and Japan's Gamba Osaka to set up a dream date with Alex Ferguson's men.

A flu bug has robbed Adelaide of two first-team players, defender Sasa Ognenovski and left-sided midfielder Cassio, but they would still expect to beat the Kiwis comfortably.

"It's 50-50. Anything can happen on the day," said Adelaide captain Travis Dodd, though in reality losing to Waitakere would be a major embarrassment for the Australians.

"We have to make sure we don't go out there thinking it's going to be a walk in the park."

Despite Adelaide's fitness worries, Waitakere are set for another torrid evening in Tokyo.

"We know exactly what Adelaide are going to throw at us," said Hay. "They're going to come at us a million miles an hour. We experienced this level last year so there'll be no excuses."

While Waitakere are likely to return home without having rubbed shoulders with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Hay at least has been there before.

"I played against Manchester United with Leeds. It was every young lad's dream," said Hay with a grin. "Those were the days of Roy Keane and David Beckham at his best. It was special."