Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

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.

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.

Tagged with:

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.

Tagged with:

New Zealand: Waitakere running away with it at the halfway stage

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on December 19, 2010
Waitakere United

Waitakere United are dominating the ASB Premiership this season

The ASB Premiership, New Zealand’s flagship football competition, is at the halfway point in the 2010-11 season and for defending champions Waitakere United the signs are currently good. Seven games into the season and Waitakere have an eight point lead over nearest challengers Team Wellington as they have shown the rest of the league that they are far and away the best team in the competition at the moment.

The champions have won all seven of their ASB Premiership games so far including today’s 2-0 away win at last season’s losing finalists Canterbury United. Both goals were scored in the first half with Roy Krishna opening United’s account after fifteen minutes, taking his season’s tally of goals up to four. Christopher Bale doubled the lead with ten minutes to go before the break and the champions never looked back from there. Team Wellington won 5-0 at home to Otago United – Hicham Kamri bagging a brace with John Sutherland, Darren Cheriton and Emiliano Tade getting the others – to keep up the chase on the league leaders. Auckland City have had a difficult season so far but they at least ended the calendar year on a high winning 5-0 at home to Hawke’s Bay United, Adam McGeorge helping himself to a hat-trick. They consolidated third place in the standings increasing their advantage over Canterbury United to four points.

In the bottom half of the table bottom club YoungHeart Manuwatu finally registered their first win of the season beating Waikato FC 5-2. Michael White scored a hat-trick for the hosts who hadn’t even chalked up a point in the standings before today. With both Team Wellington and Otago United losing the win helped YoungHeart narrow the gap between themselves and the two teams above them to four points. The next round of fixtures will take place on the weekend of January 8-9 with Waitakere United at home to Otago United, play-off hopefuls Canterbury United against last season’s Minor Premiers Auckland City, second place Team Wellington visit YoungHeart Manuwatu and Waikato FC face Hawke’s Bay United as the business end to the regular season will begin in earnest.

New Zealand: Excitement ahead of rebranded ASB Premiership

Posted in Oceania Football by peterbein on October 13, 2010

 

Waitakere United

Waitakere United are the defending champions in New Zealand

 

Having signed a new five-year deal with ASB Bank, the former New Zealand Football Championship (NZFC) has been rebranded into the ASB Premiership starting from the 2010-11 season and it hails a new enthusiasm for the game in this part of the world which saw its national team, the All Whites, enjoy unprecedented success in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Now the football authorities in New Zealand hope for the game to grow and standards to increase in what is traditionally a rugby union stronghold and, for that to happen, small but significant steps such as the new sponsorship deal are crucial to the league’s development. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks ahead to the new season.

Auckland City and Waitakere United have held a duopoly of the domestic honours since the league’s inception in 2004-05 with the former winning the championship play-offs four times and the latter winning twice including last season’s title, winning 3-1 against surprise finalists Canterbury United. New Zealand’s equivalent of the Old Firm remain the teams to beat even if they have to balance out their domestic campaign with the oncoming “O-League” – Oceania Champions League – a competition which both teams have won twice in the last five years although neither was victorious last season. Canterbury United, largely unchanged from last season, will fancy their chances of upsetting the apple cart and will want to reach another Grand Final and make it third time lucky following defeats in 2005-06 and 2009-10. Team Wellington are another team who have title ambitions having finished in third place in the 2009-10 regular season before losing in the play-offs to eventual champions Waitakere United.

Amongst the other four teams Otago United seemingly have the best chance of breaking into the top four finishing fifth in the 2009-10 regular season and only losing out on a play-off place by virtue of an inferior goal difference to eventual finalists Canterbury United. The likes of  Hawke’s Bay United and Youngheart Manawatu will be fighting it out to avoid the bottom place in the eight team league along with last season’s wooden spoonists Waikato FC who don’t look ready just yet to emulate last season’s Canterbury United side who went from worst to very nearly first. However there is a new rule in the new-look ASB Premiership which forces clubs to have five under-20 players in their squads with an obligation for three of those players to be amongst the playing staff on each matchday so this may allow a little more unpredictability in the championship.

Champions Waitakere United begin their campaign with a home tie this weekend against Team Wellington on Sunday, twenty-four hours after Auckland City opens the season with an away trip to Waikato FC. The first meeting between the Big Two will happen on November 7th when Auckland City host Waitakere United for their first home game of the domestic season. The three other games on that weekend see Otago United, Team Wellington and Youngheart Manawatu welcoming Waikato FC, Canterbury United and Hawke’s Bay United respectively. Can any of those six teams finally topple the top two and claim a first ever title? Keep in touch with Stoppage Time at all of the crucial points of the new season.