New Zealand: Waitakere crowned champions again
The ASB Premiership, New Zealand’s premier football tournament, has been won yet again by Waitakere United. The defending champions and regular season table-toppers defeated arch-rivals Auckland City by a 3-2 scoreline to secure the club’s third championship crown in four years.
Both finalists reached the showpiece match of the New Zealand football calendar by securing big aggregate wins in their semi-final matches. Waitakere United got the better of Canterbury United by 6-3 whilst Team Wellington were Auckland City’s victims going down to a 7-1 hammering. Auckland City, who hope to claim the Oceania Champions League title next weekend at home to Vanuatu champions Amicale FC, wanted to claim the national title before they indulged in continental affairs. However Waitakere, despite having lost a number of players through injury before the final, put paid to their rivals’ hopes.
Dakota Lewis bagged a brace for Waitakere United in the first half with a goal for Auckland’s Aaron Scott sandwiching them to ensure that the game finished with a 2-1 scoreline at the half-time break. Auckland would go on to restore parity in the second half thanks to a Manel Exposito goal just four minutes after the re-start but United would have the last laugh in stoppage time. Auckland defender James Pritchett was the unfortunate player to deflect the ball into his own net as Waitakere would go on to seal the deal in cruel fashion.