Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Oceania: Kiwi top two set standard in O-League

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on November 22, 2011

Auckland City O-League champions 2011Whilst the UEFA Champions League continues to take centre stage in Europe as the competition nears the end of its group phase, the equivalent tournament in the Oceania region is two rounds into the 2011-12 O-League and, as usual, the two New Zealand representatives are setting the pace for all of the others to follow.

Defending champions Auckland City and their compatriots Waitakere United have won five of the last six tournaments between them since Australian clubs decided to move to the Asian Champions League set-up in 2006. The former team won their third title in last season’s competition by defeating Vanuatu champions Amicale FC 6-1 on aggregate. In this year’s tournament, following last weekend’s round of games, Auckland lead the Group B table with a full compliment of six points from two games and a two point gap separating them from Amicale FC who they must face in their next game on January 18th, a game moved to accommodate Auckland City’s participation in the oncoming FIFA Club World Cup in December. Matchday 2 saw Auckland defeat Papua New Guinea champions Hekari United with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Manel Expósito and Emiliano Tade ensuring that the New Zealanders go into their forthcoming FIFA Club World Cup qualification match against the host Japanese champions, as yet undecided, in good spirits.

Waitakere United, two-time winners of the O-League competition, do have a much easier group and are huge favourites to progress from Group A as winners. In their opening game they saw off the weak challenge of French Polynesia outfit Tefana FC with a massive 10-0 scoreline, Fijian international Roy Krishna helping himself to five of his team’s ten goals. Waitakere’s game last weekend saw a more sober 4-0 victory over Fijian champions Ba with four different scorers – Jone Vesikula, Ross McKenzie, Chris Bale and Sean Lovemore – finding the back of the net for the Kiwis who are expected to stroll their way into this season’s two-legged final which take place in April/May 2012. Their next group game comes against New Caledonian side AS Mont-Dore on December 3rd and nothing less than three points will satisfy United who are desperate for another shot at the Oceania crown having failed to win any of the last three tournaments including the shock 4-2 aggregate defeat to Hekari United in the 2009-10 campaign.

FIFA: Draw made for 2011 Club World Cup

FIFA Club World CupFC Barcelona, FIFA Club World Cup champions in 2009, will face either African champions Esperance Tunis or Asian champions Al-Sadd in the semi-finals of the 2011 edition.

The tournament, which returns to Japan this time following a two year stint in the United Arab Emirates, will open up on December 8th with the Japanese national champions, as yet undecided, facing off against Oceania champions Auckland City with both clubs hoping for a quarter-final meeting with North and Central American winners Monterrey CF three days later.

The winner of that quarter-final will then go on to face South American champions Santos FC who hope to restore some pride to their continent following last year’s shock exit of Internacional of Porto Alegre at the hands of Africans TP Mazembe.

The competition will be completed on Sunday, December 18th in Yokohama.

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Oceania: Auckland City back on top in O-League (+video)

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on April 19, 2011

Auckland City won their third O-League title on Sunday defeating Vanuatu champions Amical FC by 4-0 in the second leg and 6-1 on aggregate. The win means that New Zealand retains its position as the dominant force in Oceania club football following Hekari United’s surprise win in 2010. Auckland City’s reward for winning the O-League title is to participate in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup which takes place at the end of the year.

New Zealand: Waitakere crowned champions again

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on April 11, 2011
Waitakere United

Waitakere United are the 2011 New Zealand champions

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.

OFC: Auckland City and Amicale FC to meet in Champions League final

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on March 19, 2011

OFC Champions League logoNew Zealand’s Auckland City will be the favourites going into the 2010-11 OFC Champions League after completing their Group B campaign with a 5-0 drubbing of AS Tefana today. In Group A defeat for Vanuatu’s Amicale FC proved academic as they still finished top of the standings in order to qualify for the final in their first ever tournament appearance.

Five different players got on the score sheet for Auckland City as they easily disposed of the weak challenge provided by French Polynesian side AS Tefana. Ivan Vicelich and Daniel Koprivcic got the goals as the Aucklanders went in 2-0 up at the break with Andrew Milne, Ian Hogg and Albert Vidal hitting the back of the net in the second half. Two-time champions Auckland finished six points ahead of compatriots Waitakere United who finished their campaign with a 2-1 win at home to AS Magenta. The side from New Caledonia took the lead after half an hour through Benjamin Longue only for Ryan de Vries to restore parity sixty seconds later. The winning goal for Waitakere came three minutes before full time thanks to Allan Pearce but the win was too little, too late for United who can now fully concentrate on defending their national title in the coming weeks.

Group A proved to be a much tighter affair with just four points separating league leaders Amicale FC from bottom placed Hekari United. The latter, who became the first team from outside Australia and New Zealand to win the title last year, have disappointed this time around and could only salvage a 1-1 draw from their final match at home to Fijians Lautoka FC with a late goal in second half stoppage time from Andrew Setefano rescuing a point after Peni Finau had given the visitors a 38th minute lead. Group winners Amicale FC could even afford to lose their final match of the group phase after Joses Nawo scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute for Solomon Islands representatives Koloale FC. Despite defeat Amicale FC finished top of the standings with ten points, one ahead of Koloale and two ahead of Lautoka FC with last season’s champions propping up the rest on six points.

The two legs of this year’s OFC Champions League final will be played on April 2nd & April 16th.

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New Zealand: Big Two have one foot in the final

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on March 13, 2011

ASB Premiership logoThe 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.

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New Zealand: Play-Offs loom for title hopefuls

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on March 10, 2011
Waitakere United

Can Waitakere United repeat their 2010 title triumph?

The regular season is over and for the quartet that remain in New Zealand’s ASB Premiership it is an exciting climax to the season. Waitakere United won the Minor Premiership finishing top of the regular season standings and, thus, qualify for the 2011-12 OFC Champions League. Will they do the double or will one of the other three semi-finalists stop them from winning the overall title?

The final match of round 14 of the regular season fixture list was completed today due to Canterbury United having to re-arrange their fixture against Auckland City following the devastating earthquake which recently struck the city. Whilst Auckland had already qualified for the play-offs by virtue of a second place finish, Canterbury had to beat their hosts in order to leapfrog Hawke’s Bay United into fourth place of the ASB Premiership standings. That they did thanks to a late winner by Ken Yamamoto whose goal in the 8oth minute gave Canterbury the final post-season berth. It means that the top four from last season – Waitakere United, Auckland City, Team Wellington and Canterbury United – will fight it out for the title again this year.

Waitakere United, having finished top of the standings by six points from arch-rivals Auckland City, are the favourites to win the national title for a second straight season. They will meet Canterbury United, who ran them close in last year’s Grand Final, at home in the semi-final, first leg on Sunday, March 13th with the return fixture due to be played on Sunday, April 3rd as Canterbury have yet to find a venue to hold their designated home tie. The other semi-final will see Auckland City, who recently qualified for the 2010-11 OFC Champions League final, face off against Team Wellington who were unfortunate to be eliminated by Waitakere in last season’s semi-final after going out on the away goals rule.

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Australia: Brisbane enjoy 1st leg win; Adelaide and Gold Coast progress (+video)

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on February 20, 2011

Hyundai A League logoThe post-season Play-Offs have got under way in Australia and for Minor Premiers Brisbane Roar the Grand Final is just 90 minutes away after enjoying a first leg win over Central Coast Mariners. In the straight knock-out phase, played between teams finishing from third to sixth in the regular season standings, Adelaide United and Gold Coast United saw off the challenges of Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory respectively.

In a game of many chances Brisbane Roar kept up their long unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win away at Central Coast Mariners. Costa Barbarouses gave the Roar the lead in the 52nd minute but the Mariners were very unlucky in their attempts to claw something back as they hit the woodwork twice before Brisbane sealed the first leg victory thanks to Matt McKay’s 73rd minute headed goal. Should Brisbane defend their lead in next week’s home second leg then they will host the 2011 Hyundai A League Grand Final for the first time in the club’s history.

WATCH CENTRAL COAST MARINERS v BRISBANE ROAR HIGHLIGHTS HERE:

In the knock-out phase of the Play-Offs two-time Australian champions Melbourne Victory were knocked out courtesy of a 90th minute Dino Djulbic goal which allowed Gold Coast United to set-up an elimination tie against Adelaide United who, in turn, were triumphant in their match against New Zealand side Wellington Phoenix. Adelaide, who finished third in the regular season standings, went through thanks to a Travis Dodd goal twenty minutes before full-time and they now look ahead to a home tie against Gold Coast next Sunday.

HYUNDAI A LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS DRAW

1. Central Coast Mariners 0-2 Brisbane Roar

2. Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners

Winners of two-legged tie through to Grand Final; losers to play winner of Match 5

3. Adelaide United 1-0 Wellington Phoenix

4. Gold Coast United 1-0 Melbourne Victory

5. Adelaide United v Gold Coast United

6. Winner Match 5 v Brisbane Roar/Central Coast Mariners

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Australia: Brisbane Roar their way to Minor Premiership

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on February 13, 2011
Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar are Hyundai A-League premiers

The Hyundai A-League, Australia’s top flight football league, has concluded its regular season this weekend. The destiny of the Minor Premiership has been in the hands of Brisbane Roar for a few weeks already as they walked away with the regular season title by eight points from Central Coast Mariners. Now that the top six places have been decided everybody can look forward to the post-season Play-Off series in the hope of becoming Australian champions.

The undoubted success story of the season so far, Brisbane Roar have maintained their form and consistency in recent weeks even in the midst of the recent devastation that occurred in the area due to flash flooding and treacherous weather conditions which has made life difficult for everybody. Ange Postecoglou’s men won their final game of the regular season this weekend to Gold Coast United in the M1 Derby with the club reaching new heights this season. The Roar have lost only once in the 30 game regular season, that sole defeat coming in September against Melbourne Victory and the club has since gone 25 matches unbeaten which is a new Hyundai A-League record.

The rest of the weekend’s results saw Adelaide United secure third spot with a 2-1 win at home to Melbourne Victory whilst outgoing champions Sydney FC, who never really recovered from an atrocious start to the season, finished seven points outside the top six and miss out on the Play-Offs for the second time in three seasons. They ended their campaign with a 2-2 draw at expansion team Melbourne Heart who finished in a respectable eighth place in the club’s maiden season, one spot above their weekend opponents. Wellington Phoenix secured the sixth and final Play-Off place beating bottom side North Queensland Fury 3-1 in their final regular season game. Newcastle United Jets had made a recent valiant attempt at reaching the top six but fell six points short. They concluded the season in seventh place after losing 1-0 to second place Central Coast Mariners.

Brisbane can now look forward to a two-legged Qualifying semi-final against second placed Central Coast Mariners in the Play-offs, the winner of which will get home advantage in the Grand Final whilst the loser will get a second chance to reach the final in week 3 of the post-season. The teams finishing from third to sixth – namely Adelaide United, Gold Coast United, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix – will be seeded and meet in one-leg straight knockout rounds with the one team remaining after week 2 facing off against the Qualifying round loser in week 3.

HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE PLAY-OFF DRAW

1. Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar

2. Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners

Winner goes straight to final; loser plays winners of match 5

3. Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix

4. Gold Coast United v Melbourne Victory

5. Winner Match 3 v Winner Match 4

6. Brisbane Roar/Central Coast Mariners v Winner Match 5

7. Brisbane Roar/Central Coast Mariners v Winner Match 6

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Oceania: AS Tefana shock Kiwis; Champions League Review

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on February 5, 2011

OFC Champions League logoThe Oceania Champions League has resumed action with three matches taking place this weekend, one less than scheduled due to the postponement of the game featuring AS Magenta and Auckland City due to the former’s stadium being deemed unsuitable to play the game. Despite this there was still plenty of action and goals on Matchday 4 of Oceania’s elite football competition.

Group B saw a shock as AS Tefana, representing French Polynesia, defeated two-time winners Waitakere United by three goals to one to leave the group wide open. Lorenzo and Alvin Tehau provided AS Tefana with their opening two goals by the half hour mark but the New Zealanders fought back with a goal in first half stoppage time, Allan Pearce slotting the ball home from the penalty spot. Any expected fightbacks by the Auckland-based side didn’t materialize as AS Tefana secured the three points in second half stoppage time thanks to Axel Williams. Auckland City still remain top after three games played with five points, the same number as Waitakere United who have played one game more. AS Tefana’s first victory of the campaign has taken them into third place on four points but AS Magenta, who also have four points, have that postponed game in hand.

Group A proved to be a goal-fest with thirteen strikes being scored in two games this weekend. The big winners this weekend were Solomon Islands representatives Koloale FC who put six goals past their Fijian hosts Lautoka FC. The home side actually took the lead after 10 minutes through Valerio Nawatu but the visitors took charge from that point with Jeffrey Bule, George Suri and Benjamin Tatori getting on the score sheet to make it 3-1 at the half-time break. The second half saw Koloale FC score another three times, Ezra Sale making it 4-1 on 52 minutes before Solomon Islands international Tatori claimed a hat-trick with further strikes in the 62nd and 77th minutes.

A more even game was fought in Vanuatu as defending champions Hekari United were fortunate to claim a point from their hosts Amicale FC after both teams shared six goals between them. Alick Maemae scored the only goal in a tight first half six minutes before the interval from the penalty spot but after the break the floodgates well and truly opened. Amicale FC doubled their lead through Dereck Malas before Osea Veketalesau pulled one back just before the hour mark. Fenedy Masauvakolo looked to have given the hosts victory, making the game 3-1 with just sixteen minutes remaining. But there would be a grandstand finish as Hekari United managed to reduce the deficit to 3-2 with three minutes of normal time remaining thanks to Veketalesau’s second strike of the game. Four minutes into stoppage time Malakai Tiwa secured the point for the Papua New Guinea champions leaving host side Amicale FC thinking of what might’ve been after an amazing game had finished 3-3.

With each team in Group A having played four games each Amicale FC and Lautoka FC both have seven points and must face each other in Vanuatu in three weeks time. Champions Hekari United have five points and must face another tough away trip to Solomon Islands to play bottom team Koloale FC (four points) with both teams knowing that anything less than victory will end their hopes of qualifying for the 2010-11 OFC Champions League final.

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