Soccer: Auckland, Manawatu, Waitakere set the pace

Waitakere United striker Roy Krishna. Photo / Getty Images.
Waitakere United striker Roy Krishna. Photo / Getty Images.

The ASB Premiership roared into life as a flood of goals fired Manawatu, Auckland, and Hawkes Bay to opening weekend wins while champions Waitakere beat Wellington 3-0.

Auckland City lead the table by merit of goals scored in their 5-2 win over Canterbury, ahead of Manawatu and Waitakere who beat Otago and Wellington 3-0 respectively, while Hawke's Bay, 2-0 winners over Waikato, round out the top four.

Waitakere got off to a flyer in their grand final rematch with Wellington today (sun) when Fiji international Roy Krishna scored a sublime goal after just 28 seconds.

The defending champions survived a second half scare when Matt Cunneen brought down Karsten Viborg, with Cunneen booked when a red card may have been shown.

Waitakere responded clinically just eight minutes later with former All White midfielder David Mulligan scoring from the penalty mark after Wellington's other Danish import, Andreas Damgaard, was adjudged to have hauled down Krishna.

Allan Pearce notched Waitakere United's third with 12 minutes remaining, a goal that saw the forward become the league's all-time leading scorer with 63 goals from 121 appearances.

Pearce takes over the record he shared with former Auckland and Waitakere striker, Keryn Jordan.

In Dunedin, Tom Mosquera needed just eight minutes to score as a rejuvenated YoungHeart Manawatu beat Otago United 3-0 at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Manawatu bagged a second after Suele Soromon evaded five defenders before laying on a delicious ball for Mosquera to half volley past Liam Little 20 minutes later.

He completed his hat-trick after a shot was parried by Little for Mosquera to finish with an easy tap-in.

Victory gives Manawatu just its second league win in 29 games and their first winning start to a campaign since 2009.

Meanwhile, a double by new signing Sean Lovemore ensured Hawke's Bay United got off to a winning start over Waikato FC.

The home side dominated possession for long spells of the game but missed opportunities cost the Declan Edge-coached side, who nonetheless look a polished outfit.

On Saturday, Auckland City put five past Canterbury United at Kiwitea Street, with Chris Bale, Albert Riera, Emiliano Tade and a brace by Adam Dickinson proving too much for the visitors.

Julyan Collett scored a scrappy goal for Canterbury from a corner, while All Whites midfielder Aaron Clapham's masterful panenka-style penalty kick was the only other consolation for last year's regular season runners-up.

The Phoenix Challenge returns after a two-year hiatus on Wednesday evening when Auckland City entertain Wellington Phoenix 'A' at Kiwitea Street, with kick-off set for 5.30pm.

Team Wellington and Canterbury United feature in an A-League curtain-raiser next Sunday before the Wellington Phoenix clash with the Central Coast Mariners.

Waitakere are at home once more, welcoming Waikato to Fred Taylor Park. Hawke's Bay hosts YoungHeart Manawatu in the heartland derby, with Auckland City playing for the third time in seven days and facing the long road trip to Otago United.

- APNZ

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