1-1 draw gets Auckland City into semis
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.