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National leagues set to crown winners

Hamish Watson, far left, celebrates a goal for Team Wellington. Photo Credit: Andrew Turner/Photosport

Auckland City FC and Team Wellington will meet in the final of New Zealand’s ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership.

These sides have clashed in multiple grand finals in recent years and are sure to provide a fitting showpiece fixture for the 2020-2021 season on Sunday.

Team Wellington were the first side to qualify for the big dance after they beat the Hamilton Wanderers 4-1 in their semi-final at their home ground of David Farrington Park last Saturday.

Hamish Watson led the charge as he scored a hat-trick, following on from the 12 goals he netted in the regular season.

Auckland City were pushed all the way by Eastern Suburbs AFC in their semi-final on Sunday but the Navy Blues took the honours with a 2-1 victory, leaving City coach Jose Figueira a happy man.

“To navigate the semi-final and reach the grand final is a great feeling all round,” he told Auckland City FC Media.

“We know Team Wellington well, it’s a different challenge again and we’ll be preparing as thoroughly as ever and spring a couple of surprises on them as well.”

The grand final will be held at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland and will mark City’s 12th national league final under the current format of the competition that began in 2004.

New Zealand’s national league structure will change following this season, moving to a regional conference model where the best teams will advance to a national competition at the end of the year.

New Zealand Football have also confirmed the formation of their first eFootball team.

The team will be made up of the best players from across New Zealand and will compete in the upcoming FIFAe Nations Series.

Since its debut in 2019, the tournament has seen the best EA Sports FIFA players from around the world representing their respective countries in FIFA’s official inter-nation competition. More information can be found here.

In the Solomon Islands, the Henderson Eels will have the chance to capture their maiden S-League title when they meet Southern United on Wednesday.

With only a handful of matches left in the season, the Eels have a four-point lead over the Solomon Warriors and a win over Southern United will lock up the trophy with a game to spare.

Last Wednesday, the Warriors beat the Malaita Kingz 11-1, while the Eels topped Real Kakamora 6-1.

During the weekend, Isabel United breezed past Real Kakamora 3-0, the Kingz drew 2-2 with Laugu United, Central Coast hammered Kossa 3-0, and Marist edged Southern United 2-1.

In Fiji, Ba moved to the top of the Digicel Premier League with a 4-1 win over Nadi on the back of two goals from Shameel Rao.

Round 2 of the competition was littered with tight matches as Nadroga and Suva drew 1-1, while Lautoka and Rewa shared the points via the same scoreline. Nobody was able to find a goal in the meeting between Navua and Labasa as they battled to a 0-all stalemate.

In the Women’s Super League, Labasa beat Suva 2-0, Rewa hammered Nadroga 7-0 and Ba eased past Tailevu Naitasiri 7-1.

Labasa players celebrating during their win over Suva. Photo Credit: Fiji FA Media

Competition leaders Pirae copped their first defeat of the Ligue 1 season in Tahiti when they went down 3-1 to Pueu on Sunday.

The win moved Pueu into second place, only two points back of Pirae but the ladder is tight at the top with Dragon in third, only three points back of Pirae with a game in hand.

In Sunday’s other matches, Tefana and Tiare drew 3-3, Jeunes Tahitiens beat Excelsior 2-1 as they made it three wins in a row, Olympic Mahina breezed past Mataiea 4-1, AS Venus smashed Manu Ura 6-1 to hold onto fourth place, and Central Sport edged Arue 1-0.

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