Auckland City will face Waitakere United at Trusts Stadium on April 2nd to determine the winner of Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) O-League Group A after defeating AS Manu Ura 1-0 at Stade Paea in Tahiti tonight.
Auckland defender George Suri climbed highest from a Ki-Hyung Lee corner in the 82nd minute to nod home the only goal of the game and set up an exciting midweek matchup with their intercity rivals to determine who will reach the home and away O-League final in April.
AS Manu Ura were reduced to 10 men late in the match when Auguste Washetine’s frustrated challenge earned him his second yellow card in the 86th minute.
Manu Ura produced a resolute defensive performance in the first half with Auckland enjoying the majority of possession.
Grant Young sent a shot crashing into the crossbar in the seventh minute and it took a stellar performance from Manu Ura goalkeeper Daniel Tapeta to keep the scores level after a flurry of great saves from Young, Jordan and Matthews.
Manu Ura were difficult to handle going forward and their long ball tactic nearly paid dividends just after halftime when striker Billy Mataitai latched onto a through ball and broke clear through the heart of the Auckland defense before dragging his shot just wide of the target.
Auckland soon re-asserted their dominance and it was Solomon Island international Suri who used his physical presence to outmuscle his marker in the box from Lee’s corner to nod a powerful header home and earn Auckland their much needed three points.
Auckland now sits one point behind Waitakere and will be hoping to rectify the 1-0 loss they sustained at the hands of United in their earlier group match in February.
Conversely, Waitakere just need to avoid losing to Auckland to defend their O-League title against either Kossa FC (Solomon Islands) or Ba FC (Fiji) who had their own Group B showdown in Fiji postponed a day until Sunday due to torrential rain.
The winner of Group A will face the Winner of Group B in a home and away final to determine who will travel to the FIFA Club World Cup – Japan 2008.
Waitakere United will meet Auckland City at Trusts Stadium at 18H00 (NZT) on Wednesday April 2.
|Waitakere Utd (NZL)||3||2||1||0||4||2||7||2|
|Auckland City (NZL)||3||2||0||1||7||1||6||6|
|AS Manu Ura (TAH)||4||0||1||3||2||10||1||-7|
AS MANU URA (TAH) vs. AUCKLAND CITY (NZL)
Kick Off: 20H00 local time (1900 NZT)
URA: 2. Rex FAURA; 4. Jean-Yves LY WAUT; 5. Philippe MORETTA; 6. Tamatoa TAUIHARA (17. Adrien TAERO 77’); 7. Henri TAPEA; 10. Auguste WASHETINE; 11. Hiashi KAKE; 12. Hiroana POROIAE; 16. Daniel TAPETA; 20. Billy MATAITAI; 22. Temarama TAUIHARA;
SUBS: 1. Jonathan TOROHIA; 14. Stephane TUAIRAU; 18. Dave PENI; 13. Taia HONG; 9. Nohoarii ROBSON;
Coach: Teivitau PITO (TAH)
Cautions: 6.Tamatoa TAUIHARA 36’; 10. Auguste WASHETINE; 42’, 86’; 5. Phillip MORETTA 50’; 7. Henry TAPEA 64’;
Red Cards: 10. Auguste WASHETINE 86’
AKL: 2. Joel MATTHEWS(13. Alex FENERIDIS 80’); 5. Ben SIGMUND; 6. Ki-Hyung LEE; ; 8. Chad COOMBES; 10. Grant YOUNG (9. Paul URLOVIC 74’); 12. Tamati WILLIAMS; 14. Keryn JORDAN (3. Craig WYLIE); 16. George SURI; 20. Greg UHLMANN; 24. Sam CAMPBELL; 27. John NION SABA;
Subs: 7. James PRITCHETT; 15. Jeff CAMPBELL; 30. Mark FULCHER (RGK)
Coach: Colin Tuaa (NZL)
Red Cards: None
Referee: Craig Zetter (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Teariki GOODWIN (COK)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael MOUAURI (COK)
Fourth Official: Norbert HAUATA (TAH)