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