Football: Waitakere upset Auckland in season opener

Waitakere United 1 Auckland City 0
Harrison Nash, seen here doing a mid-air dab for Three Kings, scored the only goal of the game for Waitakere. Photo / Photosport
Harrison Nash, seen here doing a mid-air dab for Three Kings, scored the only goal of the game for Waitakere. Photo / Photosport

The 2016-2017 NZ Football Premiership has kicked off with an upset in the opening game of the season.

Waitakere United have toppled Auckland City 1-0 at Kiwitea Street, their first victory over their cross-town rivals since 2014.

A fifth-minute goal by Harrison Nash was enough for Waitakere to take the victory, an impressive start to their campaign after enduring a horror sixth-place finish last season - one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

The win was unexpected in many respects - with Waitakere paying $7 for the victory at the bookmakers - and required some excellent saves by new Waitakere goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser to keep Auckland at bay.

City peppered Waitakere with waves of dangerous attacks, but their defence held firm, led by Strasser and Julyan Collett.

"We had most of the possession and created a ton of chances but we just couldn't finish. But fair play to Waitakere they scored their goal early because we hadn't switched on. After that they parked a great bus, to be fair," said Auckland City skipper Darren White.

"I hope this is a wake-up call for us because anyone can beat anyone in this league on the day," said White, perhaps forgetting that Southern United are in the league.

The loss is a rarity for Auckland, who had gone 28 games unbeaten before losing to Team Wellington in last year's final, making it two straight defeats for the usual Premiership frontrunners.

Auckland take on Wellington in a final re-match next week as the first full round of the Premiership gets underway, while Waitakere visit Hawke's Bay. The slate also sees the Wellington Phoenix Reserves host Eastern Suburbs, Canterbury United play Tasman United and Hamilton Wanderers face Southern United.

Waitakere United 1 (Harrison Nash)
Auckland City 0
Halftime: 1-0

- NZ Herald

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