Auckland City batter Ba
A first-ever all-New Zealand OFC Champions League grand final seems likely after solid victories from Auckland City Football Club and Waitakere United in the first leg semifinal action of the OFC Champions League.
Both teams have the advantage with United overcoming Amicale 2-0 in Port Vila on Saturday before City blitzed Ba 6-1 at Kiwitea St on Sunday.
Reigning champions Auckland gave nine-man Ba a right battering, scoring five goals in the last half-hour to secure a victory which all but renders Ba’s win on Saturday against Amicale academic.
City tore into the Men in Black from the outset but had to be wary of Ba’s counter-attacking prowess – it took the home team half an hour to overcome goalkeeper Jone Ralulu with Manel Exposito turning home a Chris Bale cross via the crossbar.
Ba then delighted their fans with a 34thminute equaliser but lost the plot two minutes before halftime
Avinesh Suwamy was sent off for committing his second bookable offence and before the halftime whistle Ba coach Yogendra Dutt was ejected from the dugout by Tahitian referee Norbert Hauata on the advice of fourth official Nick Waldron.
City laid siege to Ba’s goal after the interval.
In the 63rd minute Tade tucked the ball home on the far post after Takuya Iwata’s run and cross had zipped across the bows of Exposito as he raced in at the near post.
Two minutes later the game was up for Ba when they were reduced to nine men with Meli Codro’s wild challenge incurring the wrath of referee Hauata.
Auckland piled on the goals in the final 20 minutes from Exposito, Mario Bilen and two-goal substitute Darren White.
Second leg action takes place this weekend with the grand final at Mt Smart on May 19.
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