Waitakere edge closer to final
Waitakere United will go into their final OFC O-League group match against Auckland City full of confidence after overpowering Tahiti’s Manu Ura 5-1 in Papeete.
The scoreline means that Waitakere have edged clear of Auckland in Group A on goal difference meaning a draw will be sufficient when the pair meet on Sunday in what is effectively a shootout for a place in the continental final. A brace of goals for Jason Rowley and Alan Pearce helped Waitakere United to victory while Roy Krishna scored the pick of the goals with a stunning individual effort in the 42nd minute.
Coach of the 2008 O-League champions Neil Emblen says he was pleased with the way his team performed. "Not many teams go up to the Islands and win by such a good margin," said Emblen.
"So we'll take a lot of confidence from this match, especially the fact that we put five in the back of the net. But Auckland are a good side and we know it will be a tough test next weekend."
Pearce put Waitakere ahead after 28 minutes tapping the ball in at the far post. But the hosts hit back minutes later through Hiroana Poroiea's direct free-kick. Roy Krishna then showed his skill in the 42nd minute beating two players on the edge of the area before letting loose with a powerful right foot strike. Defensive errors cost Manu Ura the next two goals before Pearce rounded out the scoring with another tap in.
Meanwhile Group B remains well poised with three teams still in the hunt approaching the final group matches this weekend. Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United sit atop Group B on ten points while Fiji’s Lautoka are one point off the pace, with Vanuatu's Tafea also still in contention on eight points. Hekari will hope to beat Solomon Islanders Marist FC at Lawson Tama Stadium on the weekend to ensure they top the standings, while Lautoka and Tafea will both need a win - and the Marist-Hekari match to go their way - to have any hope of advancing.