Auckland City FC have won New Zealand Football’s men’s National League Championship Grand Final, defeating Wellington Olympic 3-2 in a tightly contested game this afternoon at Mt Smart Stadium. (Main photo: photosport.nz).
The victory sees the Navy Blues claim their 4th title of the season having already won the Northern League, OFC Champions League and Chatham Cup.
Wellington Olympic started brightly but Auckland City FC broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute after a goalmouth scramble saw Liam Gillion bundle the ball over the line.
7 minutes later the Auckland side doubled their lead. A neat passing move found Gerard Garriga just inside the box who slotted home into the bottom right corner of the Olympic net.
Auckland City FC were in the ascendancy but that all changed in first half injury time as midfielder Reid Drake was sent off for a late sliding tackle. The Navy Blues would have to play the full second 45 with 10 men.
The second half saw Olympic push home their man advantage. In the 63rd minute they thought they had made the breakthrough, but the goal was ruled offside.
It wasn’t until the 77th minute that they finally made it count. A brilliant long range shot from Tor Davenport-Petersen into the top left corner of the net.
It was closely followed by another cracking effort from substitute Connor Gaul but it rebounded off the crossbar.
Two minutes from time Auckland City FC regained their two goal advantage with substitute Angus Kilkolly finishing neatly from the edge of the box after a sustained period of Wellington Olympic pressure.
The game looked done but on the 90th minute Wellington Olympic won a penalty. Captain Ben Mata stepped up and halved Auckland City FC’s lead with 5 minutes of injury time still to play.
Wellington Olympic pushed hard for a late winner but Auckland City FC held on to claim the National League Championship title.
The Steve Sumner Trophy, given to the player of the match in the Grand Final, was awarded to Auckland City FC’s Gerard Garriga.
Auckland City FC – 3 (33’ Gillion, 40’ Garriga, 88’ Kilkolly)
Wellington Olympic – 2 (77’ Davenport-Petersen, 90+1’ Mata)