City claim OFC ti­tle again

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - LIAM HYSLOP

Auck­land City have booked their place at the Club World Cup for the sev­enth year in a row.

They were at their clin­i­cal and res­o­lute best when beat­ing Team Welling­ton 2-0 in Sun­day’s OFC Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal sec­ond leg against Team Welling­ton at David Far­ring­ton Park, com­plet­ing a 5-0 ag­gre­gate win.

Auck­land soaked up all of the Team Welling­ton pres­sure through the first half and hit them on the counter early in the sec­ond through Ryan de Vries.

Welling­ton cap­tain and cen­tre back Bill Robert­son could only flick on a long ball into de Vries’ path in the 63rd minute be­fore the striker calmly fin­ished past Scott Basalaj.

There was no way back for Welling­ton from there as they needed five goals to win the fi­nal. They bat­tled on well, but were un­able to fash­ion any real clearcut chances.

The fi­nal was well and truly fin­ished off when Emil­iano Tade scored in the 76th minute. He re­ceived a lay­off from de Vries on the left edge of the box and curled a sump­tu­ous fin­ish to the topright cor­ner.

Auck­land coach Ra­mon Tribu­li­etx said the key over the two legs was match­ing Welling­ton’s phys­i­cal­ity, es­pe­cially dur­ing set pieces.

‘‘In those sit­u­a­tions where they ben­e­fit from those long balls and their sec­ond phase, es­pe­cially the sec­ond phase where they’ve been strong all year, we needed to be very aware what was go­ing to hap­pen and we needed to be phys­i­cal be­cause that’s how they change the games in their favour. From that they can score.

‘‘I think we did that over both games very well, there were two or three set pieces that they man­aged to head but we were in con­tact in there, we were very phys­i­cal as well.’’

It con­demned Welling­ton to their third run­ner-up fin­ish in as many years, though it was the first for Welling­ton coach Jose Figueira, who said they had lost to a bet­ter side across the two legs.

‘‘You’re play­ing against a side who have im­mense qual­ity and pounce on any lapses of con­cen­tra­tion or mis­takes.

‘‘I was re­ally proud of the way we started the game to­day and against a top side you need to take those one or two chances that ap­pear and that might have put a lit­tle bit of pres­sure on them.

‘‘It’s been a good sea­son and I think we’ve shown enough that we’re head­ing in the right direc­tion.’’

PHOTOSPORT

Auck­land City cap­tain An­gel Ber­langa joins his team to cel­e­brate with the OFC Cham­pi­ons League tro­phy.

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