Football | SPORTS

Auckland City Retains Title

Auckland City are off to a seventh Club World Cup finals after a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Team Wellington in the OFC Champions League final in Suva last night.
27 Apr 2015 09:37
Auckland City Retains Title

Auckland City are off to a seventh Club World Cup finals after a thrilling penalty shootout victory over Team Wellington in the OFC Champions League final in Suva last night.

The Navy Blues won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 stalemate at the end of 120 minutes of football, following extra-time.

Tempers flared at the end of the shootout with the two sides needing to be separated.

It was a heartbreaking way to lose for Wellington, who were looking to qualify for the Club World Cup finals for the first time.

Ian Hogg fired Wellington’s final penalty attempt over the bar with Daewook Kim stepping up to clinch the title for Auckland City.

Both sides netted their first penaltes in the shootout, but then there were two misses in a row from Wellington’s Luis Corrales and Auckland’s Angel Berlanga.

Captain Cole Peverley and Justin Gulley were then on target for Wellington, with Adam McGeorge and David Browne both netting for Auckland.

There was no shortage of drama in extra time when Wellington goalkeeper Michael O’Keeffe saved a penalty from Darren White with six minutes remaining.

O’Keeffe dived low to his left to deny White, who never looked comfortable with his attempt.

Auckland were awarded their second penalty of the match when Hogg committed a hand ball off a Ryan de Vries’ shot.

Hogg was Wellington’s hero with 11 minutes remaining in normal time. He fired home a cracking shot past Auckland ‘keeper Tamati Williams as the ball fell to him in the box from an earlier free kick.

Auckland City opened the scoring in the 14th minute from the penalty spot through Auckland’s Portuguese striker Joao Moreira.

The Navy Blues’ triumph was their fifth straight OFC Champions League title. They will head to their seventh Club World Cup tournament in Japan in December.

The first-half was a scrappy affair with both teams struggling to create meaningful chances and several yellow cards being brandished.

In the second-half, the game came alive with Auckland trying to kill off the contest and Wellington doing their best to try and create an equaliser.

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Auckland City coach Ramon Tribuleatx said it was a tough final but one worth winning.

“It was a great winning this time round, especially with the way the game played out. It was really physical and maybe a little too physical at times, but I think this is well deserved because we’ve been trying to develop something for the last five years.”

Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott was thankful for having such a strong debut in the tournament.

“I thought we did very well especially in the second half. We put pressure on them and worked super hard, but in the end it was unfortunate that we weren’t able to win. We’ll go home, regroup and gat some rest time for all our injured players.”

Awards: Fair Play – Suva FC Pita Rabo.

Golden Boot – Ba FC Saula Waqa;

Golden Glove – Auckland City Tamati Williams;

Golden Ball – Auckland City Ivan Vicelich.

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

 

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