San Lorenzo v Auckland City: Part-timers ready for 'another level'

John Irving knows Auckland City will be forced to step up "another level" when they face San Lorenzo in the Club World Cup semi-finals.

The OFC Champions League holders have enjoyed a fairytale run in Morocco so far, beating Moghreb Tetouan on penalties in a play-off before overcoming CAF Champions League winners ES Setif 1-0 to reach the final four of the competition for the first time in six appearances.

However, the semi-professional club now face the toughest test of their 10-year existence against the Argentine outfit, who qualified for the tournament by winning the Copa Libertadores back in August.

A 2-1 aggregate victory over Nacional of Paraguay sealed a maiden Libertadores success for San Lorenzo, and English defender Irving - goalscorer in the win over Setif - conceded that Wednesday's clash represents a leap into the unknown for Auckland.

"I've got no idea how they play. All I know is that they're on another level," Irving said.

"We're going to celebrate for now, have a rest, and then start thinking about how we're going to take them on. 

"Who knows what might happen? I'm sure our coach will pass all the information on, just as he did against Setif."

As CONMEBOL's representative, San Lorenzo head into their first game of the competition at the Stade de Marrakech with a great deal of expectation on their shoulders.

Teams from the South American confederation have won the Club World Cup on four occasions, although all of those winners have come from Brazil.

Boca Juniors and Estudiantes have each reached final in the 14-year history of the competition, however, no Argentine team has lifted the trophy.

And San Lorenzo coach Edgardo Bauza is determined to ensure his team changes that fact.

"The Club World Cup is a tournament you really want to play in, and just being here is going to take our levels of concentration and motivation up a level," Bauza said.

"I hope we can reach the final because there's a lot at stake and because we're representing CONMEBOL, a confederation with a great history behind it."

Bauza has yet to make a decision on whether Mario Yepes or Mauro Cetto will start in the centre of defence, while Leandro Romagnoli could feature in midfield after recovering from a strained elbow as the Buenos Aires club aim to set up a potential final with UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid.