OFC Men’s Champions League 2022

Auckland City celebrate winning the OFC Champions League 2022, Final, AS Venus v Auckland City FC, Ngahue Reserve Auckland, Wednesday 17th August 2022, Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

After a three-year COVID-19 pandemic enforced absence, the OFC Champions League returned in 2022 and was scaled back to eight contestants, with all matches held at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland, New Zealand.

The format consisted of two groups of four, where the top two teams in each group progressed to the semi-finals. Central Coast FC were joined by AS Venus, Lae City FC, and ABM Galaxy FC in Group A, whilst hosts Auckland City FC were drawn alongside defending champions Hienghene Sport, Rewa FC, and Nikao Sokattack FC in Group B.

Nikao Sokattak’s Mark Leito. OFC Champions League 2022, Nikao Sokattak FC v Hienghene Sport, Ngahue Reserve Auckland, Monday 8th August 2022, Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

AS Venus opened their campaign with two wins from their opening two fixtures in Group A against Central Coast FC and Lae City FC, sealing semi-final qualification with a match to play. Top spot was put in jeopardy by a 0-1 defeat to ABM Galaxy on the final matchday, but Central Coast FC couldn’t surpass their goal difference and joined AS Venus in the quarter-finals after finishing Group A in second. Hosts and nine-time champions Auckland City FC made a statement with a big 5-0 victory over Hienghene Sport to open up Group B. They wrapped up top spot with convincing wins over Rewa FC and Nikao Sokattack in their remaining group fixtures, whilst Hienghene Sport recovered to join them in the semi-finals by edging Rewa 2-0 on the final day of the group stage.

Auckland celbrates Auckland City’s Gerard Garriga’s goal. OFC Champions League 2022, Final, AS Venus v Auckland City FC, Ngahue Reserve Auckland, Wednesday 17th August 2022, Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

Both semi-finals were won in rather convincing fashion, as AS Venus qualified for their first OFC Champions League final by defeating defending champions Hienghene Sport 4-0 following two goals from Tauhiti Keck. The second semi-final was tighter, but Auckland City still ran out 2-0 victors over Central Coast FC as Adam Mitchell and Dylan Manickum got themselves on the scoresheet. Four years on from their last continental title, Auckland City claimed their tenth OFC Champions League crown with a 3-0 victory over AS Venus in the final at Ngahue Reserve.

Goals from Cameron Howieson, Gerard Garriga, and Emilano Tade capped a dominant as Auckland City resumed their dominance of the competition. AS Venus’s Teaonui Tehau finished as the tournament’s top scorer with four goals.