Match Day 6 Preview

Group A once again sees a fierce rivalry between Auckland City and Waitakere as both teams sit on 11 points going into the final Match Day 6. The decider kicks off at 3:00pm on Sunday 28 March at Kiwitea Street with defending champions Auckland enjoying home advantage but Waitakere having the upper hand in terms of goal difference, meaning a draw will see them through to the home-and-away final.
Auckland, who are unbeaten in this season’s O-League and New Zealand Football Championship, will be desperate to stay in contention for the FIFA Club World Cup after their heroic efforts in Abu Dhabi last December when they finished a creditable fifth place at the club showcase.
“The players know how amazing that time was and it serves as a huge motivator,” says Auckland City coach Paul Posa.
“Both sets of players know what’s at stake and chances are this will be very tight match.”
Waitakere meanwhile have every reason to be confident having picked up three wins from their last three matches and scoring an impressive 13 goals in the process.
In the other Group A match, 2010 newcomers AS Magenta and AS Manu Ura will battle for third spot at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea on Saturday. Manu Ura go into the match as underdogs having picked up just one point in the competition so far compared to Magenta’s three. The Tahitians will also miss Vetea Tepa, Auguste Washetine and Hiashi Kake who are out through suspension while Magenta are at full strength.
With three out of the four Group B teams still in with a chance of progressing, Saturday will see simultaneous kick off times for Tafea vs. Lautoka and Hekari vs. Marist.
Hekari are in the driver’s seat needing a win against cellar-dwellers Marist to secure themselves a place in the final. The Papua New Guinea side have shown strong form in their domestic competition, recently claiming the National Soccer League minor premiership. Solomon Island imports Gideon Omokirio and Eddie Ngaitini will lead the backline for Hekari while compatriots Henry Fa’arodo and Joachim Waroi are sure to create opportunities at the other end of the field.
Marist have little to play for but coach Patrick Miniti has assured home fans that his side will put in a good performance at Lawson Tama Stadium.
“We want to win this match as much as Hekari and I’m confident my players will give 110 per cent,” said Miniti.
In the other Group B match, Tafea will host Fiji’s Lautoka at Municipal Stadium in Port Vila on Saturday. Both sides must pick up three points and hope that Hekari draw or lose to have any chance of advancing. It promises to be a close encounter after their previous match finished 2-1 in favour of Tafea late last year. Lautoka will be without key striker Osea Vakatakesau and Marika Robanakadavu who are unavailable through suspension.
The winner of Group A and Group B will progress to the home-and-away final of the OFC Champions League, scheduled to take place on 17 April and 2 May. From there, the overall winner will represent Oceania at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 in December.
For full schedule and results click here

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