New Zealand: Big Two have one foot in the final
The big two of New Zealand football, Waitakere United and Auckland City, look like renewing their rivalry in the final of the 2010-11 ASB Premiership after both teams recorded wins in the semi-final first legs.
Defending champions Waitakere United faced off against Canterbury United at the former’s Fred Taylor Park stadium in a repeat of last season’s Grand Final and once Ryan de Vries gave the home side the lead after six minutes there was no looking back for the title holders. Dakota Lucas doubled the lead on nine minutes with Aaron Scott scoring the third after twelve minutes. Three minutes later De Vries bagged his second of the game to leave Waitakere United with a 4-0 lead after quarter of an hour. The game was over almost as soon as it had begun but the home side didn’t take their foot off the gas as Dakota Lucas scored his second of the game five minutes before half-time.
In the second half Waitakere were able to add one more goal to their tally when Allan Pearce got the sixth goal of the game on the hour mark. Canterbury United were stunned but were eventually able to compose themselves and gained their reward in the last ten minutes of the game with Nick Wortelboer and Tom Schwarz getting on the score sheet to leave the game with a much more respectable 6-2 defeat.
Auckland City will have high hopes of qualifying for the Grand Final once more after winning their semi-final, first leg tie away at Team Wellington. The game was keenly contested and remained tight until the 78th minute when Luis Corrales finally broke the deadlock for the visitors. Manuel Exposito scored in stoppage time at the end of the game to seal a 2-0 win for Auckland City who will host next week’s second leg and now seem almost certain to qualify for their domestic championship final as well as that of the OFC Champions League. Waitakere United’s semi-final, second leg match will be played on Sunday, April 3rd but the venue has yet to be confirmed as Canterbury United’s home ground is unfit for use following the devastating earthquake which affected the city earlier this year.