League lead­ers now

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JEREMY RUANE

A buoy­ant mood will carry Auck­land City into the FIFA Club World Cup Fi­nals this week af­ter they knocked down reign­ing ASB Pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons and archri­vals Waitakere United 2-0 at Ki­witea St on Satur­day.

The win puts City in the top spot on the ta­ble.

The boys in navy blue en­joyed the bet­ter of the open­ing ex­changes but didn’t get an edge on United un­til 30 min­utes into the game when Chris Bale thun­dered home a 25 yard kick.

Waitakere’s Richie Car­dozo tried to come back swiftly but City keeper Ta­mati Wil­liams proved equal to the ef­fort.

City was awarded a penalty kick just af­ter half­time when Tim My­ers brought down his for­mer team-mate Ryan de Vries but the punt was de­nied by United keeper Danny Robin­son.

United’s at­tacks were largely thwarted by de­fender Ivan Vicelich through­out the match.

City’s John Irv­ing passed the ball across his own penalty area two min­utes from time which put City in dan­ger from Car­dozo but Irv­ing re­cov­ered to thwart the striker as he was poised to equalise.

The home team launched a stop­page time counter-at­tack with Emil­iano Tade de­nied by another out­stand­ing save from Robin­son.

But this time for­tune favoured City with Dar­ren White fol­low­ing in to tap the ball into an empty net and con­firm another vic­tory for Auck­land.

City is now the only un­beaten team in the com­pe­ti­tion.

They were due to face Wan­der­ers SC next week­end but the match has been de­ferred un­til Jan­uary 22 be­cause City will be at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco. They will face Moroc­can cham­pion club Raja Casablanca in Agadir on De­cem­ber 11.

If Auck­land pro­gresses to the play-off stages of the World Cup they won’t be seen on New Zea­land fields for the rest of the year.

Fol­low through: City goal­keeper Ta­mati Wil­liams punches the ball as he col­lides with cap­tain Ivan Vicelich

Ev­ery­one up: City’s John Irv­ing, cen­tre, goes high for the ball dur­ing an in­tense com­pe­ti­tion.

Pho­tos: PHO­TO­SPORT.CO.NZ

Happy times: Dar­ren White cel­e­brates scor­ing City’s sec­ond goal in stop­page time.

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