Soccer: Waitakere set up derby decider

By Kris Shannon

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

Both Waitakere United and Auckland City took care of business this weekend to set up the most lucrative Super City derby in the history of the rivalry.

The two Auckland sides won through to next Sunday's Oceania Champions League final after securing relatively straightforward semifinal victories.

Auckland City completed a 7-1 aggregate victory over Ba after winning 1-0 in Fiji on Saturday, while Waitakere experienced a slight scare today before defeating Vanuatu champions Amicale 4-1 across two legs.

Waitakere were always in the driver's seat after earning a 2-0 victory in last weekend's first leg, but Amicale gave the favourites a fright after taking the lead at Fred Taylor Park before goals from Chad Coombes and Roy Krishna sealed a 2-1 win and Waitakere's spot in the final.

The west Aucklanders' victory sets up a high stakes showdown with their city rivals, the winner of which will earn US$500,000 and a spot at the Club World Cup in Morocco.

Waitakere and Auckland have between them won five of the last six O-League titles but they have never met in the final of the tournament. That will change on Sunday at Mt Smart Stadium in a clash that will be the sides' seventh meeting this season.

Waitakere have won three of those games, including a dramatic 4-3 victory in the ASB Premiership final, and they will be chasing their fourth piece of silverware to compete a perfect season.

But Auckland, aiming to clinch the Oceania trophy for a third year running, will have something to say about that in what must be regarded as one of the most finely-balanced finals in the history of the competition.

Auckland football fans looked like they could be denied the dream final after Joses Nawo opened the scoring for Amicale shortly before halftime with a spectacular volley which bounced in off the crossbar.

The goal came against the run of play and was virtually the Vanuatu side's only chance of the half, but it cut in half the hosts' aggregate lead and left the tie in the balance.

That was until the enigmatic Coombes levelled the scores with a delightful volley of his own, controlling the ball on his chest before dinking it over a defender and rifling home.

Amicale were left needing two goals and the visitors were always going to leave space at the back in search of an unlikely comeback. Dan Morgan was able to exploit that space down the left, drawing a defender behind sliding the ball across to an unmarked Krishna to slot the clinching goal.

Waitakere will head into the final buoyed by a 1-0 victory in the sides' last meeting, at Kiwitea St last month, but prior form will count for little in arguably the most important derby to date.


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