Their opponents will be confirmed next Sunday, when minor premiers Waitakere United – ahead 6-2 after the first leg of their playoff against Canterbury United – travel to Christchurch’s Tulett Park for the return leg.
City’s Daniel Koprivcic began the rout after 40 seconds after a sublime one-two with Adam Dickinson but an expansive Wellington – trailing 0-2 from the first leg – levelled in the 15th minute when Emilano Tade set up Hicham Kamri for a fierce volley.
Wellington’s need to chase the game from the outset left holes that Auckland, especially Manel Exposito, were happy to exploit and the Spaniard combined with Dickinson to set up the Englishman for Auckland’s second on the half hour mark.
Koprivcic grabbed his second on the back of good work from fullback Ian Hogg nine minutes into the second half and a clinical outside-of-the-foot finish from former Wellington player Luis Corrales made it 4-1 ten minutes later.
The influential Exposito, who had previously been denied by Phil Imray three times, finally beat the Wellington gloveman five minutes from fulltime to rubberstamp Auckland’s fifth grand final appearance.
“It was probably one of our best games,” Auckland City co-coach Ramon Tribulietx says.
“That early goal gave us confidence and they had to go for it. We had a lot of space and we made good use of it.”
All White Jacob Spoonley started in goal for Auckland after jetting in from China only a few hours earlier and was kept honest by an attacking Wellington side but David Mulligan and Ivan Vicelich, who both played 90 minutes against China, watched from the sidelines.
The ASB Premiership Grand Final date is set for Sunday 10 April and will be played at Kiwitea Street or Waitakere’s Fred Taylor Park, depending on whether Waitakere or Canterbury progress next week.
Meanwhile Auckland will be kept busy next weekend with Saturday’s first leg of the O-League final against Amicale in Vanuatu.
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.
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