Advantage Auckland City in OFC final
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.
Joao Moreira celebrates his second goal as Auckland City defeat Team Wellington.