Auckland boost Club World Cup hopes

WELLINGTON - New Zealand's Auckland City boosted their hopes of qualifying for the FIFA Club World Cup by beating Vanuatu's Amicale 2-1 in the first-leg of the Oceania region's club final.

Auckland thanked a lucky deflection for the decisive 82nd minute goal in Port Vila on Saturday, a clearing kick rebounding off Luis Corrales across the goal line after the grounded Costa Rican striker had slid in to meet a cross.

"The win has come via a little bit of luck in the end and I think we would definitely have settled for a draw," said Auckland coach Aaron McFarland. "Considering they played very well and dominated possession, we're very happy with 2-1."

Spanish striker Manuel Exposito slotted a spot-kick after being brought down by the keeper to put Auckland 1-0 up in the 22nd minute, before Amicale captain Fenedy Masauvakalo fired in a 67th minute equaliser.

The second-leg for a place at the Club World Cup, and a guaranteed $500,000 payday, will take place in Auckland on April 17.