1-1 draw gets Auck­land City into semis

Central Leader - - SPORT -

Auck­land City have joined arch ri­vals Waitakere United in the O-League football semi­fi­nals af­ter hold­ing their nerve to draw 1-1 with Tahi­tian side AS Dragon in Papeete.

The Tahi­tian cham­pi­ons had been held to a sur­prise draw by New Cale­do­nian side AS Mont Dore dur­ing the week which meant City only had to avoid de­feat to book them­selves a spot in the fi­nal four.

But Dragon had to win and they got off to the per­fect start when open­ing the scor­ing just five min­utes into the con­test af­ter which they forced Ta­mati Wil­liams to pro­duce a cou­ple of top saves to keep City in con­tention.

City weath­ered the storm and grad­u­ally gained some trac­tion in the con­test, equal­is­ing six min­utes be­fore half­time with a Manel Ex­pos­ito strike.

The sec­ond spell saw City en­joy­ing the bet­ter of the early ex­changes, with Adam Dick­in­son twice go­ing close be­fore the hour mark.

But af­ter he squan­dered a one-onone op­por­tu­nity Dragon be­gan to press once more.

They hit the cross­bar with a 74th-minute header and had a goal ruled out by the off­side flag seven min­utes from time as City rode their luck.

They held on to earn the 1-1 draw which con­firmed them as group run­ners-up.

City’s re­ward is a two-legged semi­fi­nal against Fi­jian cham­pi­ons Ba, with the first leg from 3pm this Sun­day at Ki­witea St. Waitakere visit Van­u­atu cham­pi­ons Ami­cale in the other semi­fi­nal first leg en­counter.

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