OFC champions on track

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

SUVA, 15 APRIL 2015 ( FIJI TIMES) --- Defending champions Auckland City remain on track in the Fiji Airways OFC Champions League following another win in the second round of the competition.

The New Zealand-based side thumped Western United of Solomon Islands 3-0 to lead Group B on six points.

City which finished third in the FIFA Club World Cup in December last year struggled to find its footing in the opening spell under wet and slippery conditions at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

United spurred by the vocal fans gave an early fright to the champions which was well guarded by their inform goalkeeper Tamati Williams in defence.

Captain Benjamin Totori combined well with midfield general James Naka to keep their fans on their feet with glimpses of some sublime skills and touches.

City failed to penetrate through the tough United wall which stood tall in the opening spell.

Replacement forward Gustavo Souto made a couple of good breaks and pumped in opportunities from the left flank but the City strikers failed to pounce on the chances to take an early lead.

Both teams were locked at nil-all at the break.

In the 68th minute, striker Darren White picked up a beautiful pass from his skipper Ivan Vicelich to score the opener.

Within minutes, United had an opportunity to equalise through Naka but he failed to capitalise on the chance.

City scored its second through Souto who blasted in a rebound in the 73rd minute before White scored the winner in the 87th minute to seal the 3-0 win.

“It's a good feeling. It was a very difficult game. We knew their strength are very good, they got a fantastic team. They have five or six players that can do anything at anytime," City coach Ramon Tribulietx said.

“We created a lot of chances but capitalised on three. I'm happy with the way the team reacted with a structured team that we are not used to play against.”

United coach Riccardo De Vivo said they gave their all but conceded that was not enough to register their first win in the tournament.

“You can see the difference between the team that was set up in six weeks to a side that is probably playing for years,” De Vivo said.

“I'm proud of my boys. We gave our 100 per cent.”

United lost its opening pool match to Amicale FC by 1-0 on Saturday.