Ad­van­tage Auck­land City in OFC fi­nal

Central Leader - - SPORT - ANDREWVOERMAN

It’s ad­van­tage Auck­land City after the first leg of the OFC Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, as they beat Team Welling­ton 3-0 at Ki­witea St on Sun­day.

Joao Mor­eira scored twice in the first half - once from the penalty spot - and Ryan de Vries then dealt the dag­ger blow late in the sec­ond.

City were the su­pe­rior team through­out, look­ing to make amends for their loss in the na­tional league fi­nal four weeks ago, and se­cure the con­ti­nen­tal prize for the sev­enth year in a row.

They didn’t have the wealth of pos­ses­sion they nor­mally do, but wouldn’t have minded, as Team Welling­ton couldn’t take ad­van­tage, and were mostly re­duced to play­ing aerial balls that City dealt with eas­ily - a big dif­fer­ence from last time out.

Marko Dorde­vic wasn’t fit to fea­ture for City, hav­ing taken a knock in their semi­fi­nal win over AS Te­fana, while for­wards Ryan de Vries and Fabrizio Ta­vano were on the bench, hav­ing been af­fected by in­jury them­selves in re­cent weeks.

Team Welling­ton coach Jose Figueira sprang a sur­prise, opt­ing for Ni­co­las Zam­brano up top over Ben Har­ris, who had scored both their goals in the na­tional league fi­nal de­cider. He also brought Mario Bar­cia in in mid­field for Niko Kir­wan.

In the 18th minute, Auck­land’s Mor­eira picked Bill Robert­son’s pocket and ran clear from just in­side Team Welling­ton’s half, draw­ing a foul in­side the box that earned the keeper a yel­low card and gave the Por­tuguese striker a penalty, which he man­aged to con­vert de­spite a fairly tame ef­fort.

Ten min­utes later, Mor­eira got the bet­ter of Robert­son once more, beat­ing his chal­lenge on the edge of the box, which left him with plenty of time and space to score a sec­ond.

Team Welling­ton looked like they were go­ing to be able to keep the mar­gin to two, which would have been an okay re­sult head­ing home, how­ever de Vries stepped up to curl one in right at the death, after a series of short passes on the edge of the box. Now, Welling­ton will need to limit away goals this week­end.

The sec­ond leg is next Sun­day at Dave Far­ring­ton Park in Welling­ton, with the win­ner also book­ing a place at the Club World Cup at the end of the year - a prize that now looks very likely to be­long to City once again.

PHOTOSPORT

Joao Mor­eira cel­e­brates his sec­ond goal as Auck­land City de­feat Team Welling­ton.

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