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Club championship kicks off in Japan
by Paul Kennedy, December 12th, 2008 7AM



[CLUB WORLD CUP] The 2008 Club World Cup began Thursday in Japan, where Adelaide United of Australia defeated Waitakere United of New Zealand, 2-1. Play continues Saturday with quarterfinal action between Mexico's Pachuca (featuring young American international Francisco Torres) and Egyptian power Al Ahly (TV: Fox Soccer Channel, live, Saturday, 2:30 am ET, Friday, 11:30 pm ET).

Adelaide United, which won on goals by Daniel Mullen and Travis Dodd, earned an at-large berth in the tournament. Gamba Osaka from the host country won the 2008 Asian Champions League, so runner-up Adelaide was awarded the seventh berth in the annual club championship. Gamba Osaka and Adelaide meet in a rematch Sunday in Toyota City.

European champion Manchester United and Ecuador's LDU Quito, the 2008 Libertadores Cup winner, have byes into next week's semifinals, allowing them to miss only one weekend of league play.

The opening game drew almost 20,000 fans at Tokyo's National Stadium. The semifinals will take place in Tokyo and Yokohama and all the placement games will be held in Yokohama.

The tournament will move next year to the United Arab Emirates before returning to Japan in 2010 and 2011.


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