Football: Team Wellington win again at OFC Champions League

Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott. Photo / Getty
Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott. Photo / Getty

Team Wellington have picked up a second consecutive win in the OFC Champions League after a nervy 2-1 victory over AS Lossi this afternoon.

Matt Calcott's side needed to come from behind to beat the New Caledonian side, with their victory seeing a battle for top spot in their group emerge.

Papua New Guinea side Hekari United top Group B with six points and a plus seven goal difference, four goals better than Team Wellington.

Hekari's 3-0 win over Suva today leaves the beaten sides, Suva and Lossi, out of the running to make the knockout stages while the group's last match between Wellington and Hekari on Saturday will effectively act as a head-to-head showdown for the semi-finals.

If the match ends in a draw, Hekari will take the automatic qualifying spot.

The loser of that match may still progress as the best-placed runner-up but that is likely to depend on the health of their goal tally.

Team Wellington will likely require a better performance on Saturday to advance, after falling into an early hole against Lossi.

Jim Ouka earned the underdogs a surprise lead shortly before the break, giving Wellington goalkeeper Scott Basalaj no chance in a one-on-one situation after latching on to a defence-splitting pass.

But the New Caledonians weren't able to hang on to their advantage for long as Wellington reacted to the half-time words of coach Matt Calcott by drawing level in the 48th minute. A trademark effort from free-kick specialist Alex Feneridis rebounded off goalkeeper Michel Hne and Tom Jackson was on hand to tap in from close range, setting up an intriguing second half.

Lossi continued to foot it with their more-fancied opponents but finally fell behind when Mario Barcia's looping header sailed over the outstretched arm of Hne in the 64th minute.

Wellington did not manage to kick on from that point and put the game to bed though, and the door was swung open for Lossi when midfielder Chris Bale saw red for a second bookable offence on 87 minutes.

But, despite seven minutes of additional time, Lossi could not find the goals that would have kept them in the competition as the ten men of Wellington held on for a nervy 2-1 victory.

"We had to work hard for that win, to get the three points was crucial really," Calcott said.

"Once again, I thought we struggled for the first 45 minutes but it was a much better second half. Lossi did well, they pressed us high and their goal came from that."

Lossi coach Stephane Drahusak was disappointed to take nothing from the game as he felt the efforts of his players warranted a better outcome.

"I think we deserved to win but the experience of the other side showed in the second half," he said.

"Both of the goals came from set pieces and that is hard to take. But I thought there were some encouraging things that came out of today's match."

Defending champions Auckland City FC take on Papua New Guinea newcomers Lae City Dwellars tomorrow at 3.30pm.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 27 Sep 2016 01:23:44 Processing Time: 514ms