Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx hopes his side can emulate their 2009 run at the FIFA Club World Cup and upset J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol in the opening game at the Toyota Stadium in Nagoya tomorrow night.
Two years ago in Abu Dhabi, Auckland stunned both home side Al Ahli and African champions TP Mazembe on their way to finishing fifth. Now making their third appearance in the competition, Tribulietx is keen for the underdogs to once again rise to the occasion.
"There is belief that we can actually win the game," he said on the Oceania Football Confederation website. "We were impressed after watching Kashiwa win the title and they are a very good team. We know that, they are the J.League winners for a reason.
"We've shown the players some videos of Kashiwa and talked about a few things we can do to hurt them. We've also pointed out a few things to the players where Kashiwa can hurt us but the belief is growing that we can compete in this game."
Kashiwa were crowned domestic champions last weekend having only been promoted from Japan's second tier the previous season.