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City claim 12th OFC Champions League title

Updated: May 26


Auckland City FC have continued their dominance of the OFC Champions League with a record-extending 12th title after a 4-0 victory over Tahiti’s AS Pirae at Stade Pater in Papeete.


Albert Riera’s side, also looking to make it three triumphs in a row were in clinical form, scoring twice in the first-half to set them on their way in front a partisan home crowd.


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The host nation side started with energetic Désiré Ngiamba a constant menace to Auckland City down their left-hand side. Nathan Lobo was particularly troubled by Ngiamba, receiving a yellow card for a shirt pull as the full-back threatened to break free.


As they have done so many times this campaign, the New Zealand side made it count when given their opportunities. Only 6 minutes were on the clock when Adam Mitchell nodded down Cam Howieson’s free-kick and Michael Den Heijer was on hand to side-foot in from yards out.


Pirae responded positively to the setback but for all their possession, were struggling to break down Auckland City’s well-drilled rearguard.


Auckland City OFC Champions League football
Another OFC Champions League title for Auckland City. PHOTO: OFC MEDIAF/PHOTOTEK

A moment of brilliance from midfielder Gerard Garriga doubled the defending champions’ lead on the half-hour mark. The Spaniard through ball split the Pirae defence, finding Liam Gillion who made no mistake in rounding Francois Decoret to score.


The second period was only three minutes old when Auckland City put the result all but beyond doubt. Stipe Ukich – Player of the Match in his side’s semifinal victory over AS Magenta – cut in from the left, creating space for himself before deftly clipping a right-footed effort into the far corner to make it 3-0.


Just over 10 minutes later and the champions added a fourth. Cam Howieson’s free-kick from the left flying over the grasp of Decoret in the AS Pirae goal and onto the head of central defender Christian Gray, who nodded home from a couple of yards out.



For all of their effort, AS Pirae continued to struggle in finding a way to test Conor Tracey in the Auckland City goal. Ngiamba continued to work hard, with an effort from just inside the box landing narrowly over the top of the bar.


Captain Alvin Tehau was next up to threaten, latching onto a deflected pass before hitting the outside of the post from a tight angle. Heirauarii Salem followed that up with a curled effort, fizzing just over the bar as the Tahitian side looked to give the home crowd something to cheer.


It was not to be for Pirae, as Auckland City’s structure and intensity proved too difficult a barrier to break down – yet another sign of their champion credentials.


Auckland City have now secured a place in the inaugural FIFA Intercontinental Cup, to be played later this year.


Auckland City FC 4 (Michael Den Heijer 6’, Liam Gillion 30’, Stipe Ukich 48’, Christian Gray 59′) AS Pirae 0, HT 2-0

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