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