OFC Men’s Champions League 2013

Auckland celebrate winning the 2013 OFC Champions League. OFC Champions League Grand Final, Waitakere United v Auckland City FC, Mt Smart Stadium Auckland, Sunday 19th May 2013. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

The 12th edition of the OFC Champions League took place in 2013. The tournament underwent a format change with eight clubs split into two groups playing each other home and away, before the top two teams in each group progressed to a two-legged semi-final, and the final held at a predetermined venue. 2010 champions Hekari United FC were joined by Amicale FC, Ba FC, and the Solomon Warriors in Group A, whilst two-time defending champions Auckland City FC were drawn alongside cross-town rivals Waitakere United, AS Dragon, and AS Mont-Dore in Group B.

A 3-1 away victory over Hekari United got Ba FC off to the perfect start in Group A, and the Fijian champions never let up as they progressed through their campaign unbeaten and wrapped up top spot. Striker Sanni Issa caught the attention with a goal in every single one of Ba FC’s group fixtures, including a hat-trick against the Solomon Warriors. 2011 OFC Champions League runners-up Amicale lost both of their encounters with the Fijian side, but still secured second spot and a semi-final spot comfortably with ten points from their remaining four fixtures. Group B witnessed a three-horse race between Auckland City FC, Waitakere United, and AS Dragon for the two semi-final spots. Auckland City put themselves in pole position with three wins from their first three group fixtures, including a massive 12-2 victory over AS Mont-Dore, but fell away with two defeats from their remaining three matches.

OFC Champions League 2013, 2nd Leg Semi Final, Waitakere United v Amicale FC, Fred Taylor Park Waitakere, Sunday 12th May 2013. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

Waitakere United steamed ahead to take spot, winning all of their last four fixtures, and notably a 1-0 victory over Auckland City on matchday five. AS Dragon picked up a pair of good results on the road in New Zealand, with a draw against Waitakere and a victory over Auckland City. They couldn’t get over the line in a 1-1 draw with the latter at home on the final day of group play though, as Auckland City edged through to the semi-finals by a single point in second spot. Two goals from Roy Krishna gave Waitakere United a 2-0 first leg victory away victory against Amicale in the first semi-final tie, and they closed it out with a 2-1 win at home to win 4-1 on aggregate and qualify for their fourth OFC Champions League final. Cross-town rivals Auckland City joined them after smashing Ba FC 6-1 at home in the first leg, before securing a 1-0 victory on the road to win the second semi-final tie 7-1 on aggregate.

Auckland City made it a three-peat of OFC Champions League titles with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Waitakere United in the final at Mt Smart Stadium. Strikes from Adam Dickinson and Alex Feneridis fired them into a two-goal lead inside the first twenty minutes, and despite conceding a goal from Chad Coombes, Auckland City held on to claim their fourth continental crown. Ba FC’s Sanni Issa finished as the tournament’s top scorer with nine goals, and also received the golden ball as the competition’s best player. Waitakere United’s Danny Robinson was awarded the golden glove, whilst the Solomon Warriors received the fair play award.

Adam Dickinson and Manel Exposito. OFC Champions League Grand Final, Waitakere United v Auckland City FC, Mt Smart Stadium Auckland, Sunday 19th May 2013. Photo: Shane Wenzlick

As continental champions, Auckland City FC represented OFC at the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, but were eliminated in the first round following a 2-1 defeat to Raja Casablanca, despite levelling the score in the second half with a goal from Roy Krishna.