Auckland big guns immediately find range

The ninth edition of the New Zealand national league commenced on the weekend amid a flurry of goals with competition heavyweights Auckland City and Waitakere United, as well as Manawatu all finding their feet straight away.

FIFA Club World Cup bound Auckland City took an early lead at the top of the standings, albeit on goal difference, with an impressive 5-2 win over the visiting Canterbury United.

Auckland have three more matches before heading to Japan and a meeting with the J.League champions on 6 December.

Cross-city rivals Waitakere claimed an equally one-sided victory stating their intentions remarkably quickly, with prolific Fiji striker Roy Krishna scoring 28 seconds into the season en-route to a 3-0 win over Team Wellington in their Grand Final rematch.

Former New Zealand midfielder Dave Mulligan hit a second-half penalty, before Allan Pearce notched Waitakere United's third with twelve minutes remaining. Pearce’s goal saw the forward become the national league’s all-time leading scorer with 63 goals from 121 appearances. Pearce takes over the record he shared with former Auckland and Waitakere striker, Keryn Jordan.

Tom Mosquera staked a strong claim to be player of the round hitting a treble as a rejuvenated YoungHeart Manawatu beat Otago United 3-0 in Dunedin.

Meanwhile, a double by new signing Sean Lovemore ensured Hawke's Bay United got off to a winning start over Waikato FC.

Next weekend’s round is highlighted by Team Wellington and Canterbury United meeting in an A-League curtain-raiser on Sunday prior to Wellington Phoenix’s meeting with Central Coast Mariners.