Auck­land City bat­ter Ba

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

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.

Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion for pho­tos of Auck­land City v Ba.

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