Auckland City FC captain Cam Howieson lifts the trophy. Photo: Photosport/22081711
Auckland City FC have claimed the OFC Champions League 2022 title, and earned a place at the next FIFA Club World Cup™, after a 3-0 win over Tahiti’s AS Vénus at a wet and windy Ngahue Reserve in Auckland.
First-half goals from Cam Howieson and Gerard Garriga were topped up by a late Emiliano Tade strike to secure the New Zealand club their 10th OCL crown despite a brave second-half effort from first-time finalists Vénus.
Auckland City were given the perfect opportunity to
take the lead in their first OCL final since 2017 after referee David
Yareboinen pointed to the penalty spot when Adam Mitchell was bundled to the
ground. Auckland City captain Howieson stepped up and made no mistake from 12
yards to give the record winners the early advantage.
Vénus defender Kevin Barbe demonstrated his threat in
the opposing box shortly after before Auckland City took complete control of
the opening period. Garriga’s persistence paid off, tapping home for 2-0 after
Ryan De Vries had touched the ball past Vénus goalkeeper Teave Teamotuaitau.
Vénus skipper Teaonui Tehau had his side’s best chance
of the first-half, but dragged his shot from outside the box just wide before
Teamotuaitau made a stunning save to deny Garriga a brace.
With the wind behind them in the second-half, and
dreams of becoming Tahiti’s first ever OCL winners slipping away, Vénus began
the second-half with renewed vigour.
Terai Bremond tested Auckland City goalkeeper Conor
Tracey from range before captain Tehau mistimed a header in front of goal.
Auckland City’s threat still remained, with Vénus
stopper Teamotuaitau pulling off a spectacular double save from De Vries and
his own defender Pothin Poma to keep his side in touching distance.
Vénus continued to press with Barbe twice wasting
headed chances either side of Tracey’s save from a Yann Pennequin-Le Bras
free-kick but Auckland City’s defence held firm before club stalwart Tade
sealed a 10th OCL title for the New Zealanders, the Argentine forward hammering
home from Garriga’s cross to secure victory.
For Vénus and Tahiti, the wait for a continental title
goes on, while Auckland City stretch their record to 10 titles and book their
place at the next FIFA Club World Cup™.
Cook Islands’ Nikao Sokattak competed in the
tournament. Despite their valiant effort, the side went down to Fiji’s Rewa
1-3, Hienghène Sport 0-1 and Auckland City 1-4 in the pool competition.