Domestic football is back - with a bang.

Auckland City has made the perfect start to the season, with an impressive 4-3 comeback victory over Team Wellington in a thrilling contest.

The home side trailed by two goals after 17 minutes, but stormed back with four unanswered goals and despite a tense finish, the final score probably flattered the visitors.

After all the turmoil that has engulfed New Zealand Football over the last six months, it was great to get back to the action and the match was a terrific advertisement for the ISPS Handa Premiership.


It's a vital three points for Auckland City, but of equal importance will be the belief gained by the Sandringham-based team, after their roster was significantly overhauled in the off season.

They've lost several stalwarts, notably Emiliano Tade, Darren White and Daewook Kim, as well as All Whites striker Callum McCowatt.

But on this evidence coach Ramon Tribulietx has again rebuilt well, and the seven-time league champions will be a force again.

Team Wellington showed some promising signs and never stopped fighting, but couldn't effectively control possession for most of the match, aside from a spell late in the match.

Cameron Howieson and David Browne stood out for Auckland City, while new striker Javier Lopez looks a good signing.

The home side, who had taken control of the first 15 minutes, were stunned when Team Wellington scored two goals in 90 seconds to break the game open.

The damage started with a stunning strike from Mario Barcia in the 16th minute, with an unstoppable half volley from almost 25 metres.

Almost from the kickoff Auckland were caught in possession, and former Phoenix striker Hamish Watson got ahead of some hesitant defending to head home.


Tribulietx's new look side were clearly stunned, but were quick to respond.

Howieson broke free after a clever buildup, before slotting home neatly between Scott Basalaj's legs in the 19th minute.

That revived Auckland City, and they got a deserved equaliser 11 minutes later, which was an early contender for the goal of the season.

Winger Micah Lea'alafa collected a 50 metre cross field ball from Dan Morgan, and beat two defenders before lofting an inviting ball towards Lopez in the area, who dived full length – Robin Van Persie style – to head the ball into the corner.

There were further chances, with both goalkeepers distinguishing themselves with reflex saves, before Morgan gave Auckland City a deserved lead in the 51st minute, after Lopez and Howieson had combined well.

Lea'alafa, who had missed two earlier opportunities, seemed to sealed the points with a well taken strike with 15 minutes to play.

But Watson set up a close finish with a powerful near post header in the 83rd minute, and only a brilliant Enaut Zubikarai save, as he stretched full length to tip another Barcia long range strike onto the crossbar, prevented an unlikely equaliser, as Team Wellington finished with a wet sail.

Auckland City 4 (Cam Howieson, Javier Lopez, Dan Morgan, Micah Lea'alafa)
Team Wellington 3 (Hamish Watson 2, Mario Barcia)
HT: 2-2