29 Apr 2017

Sport: NZ teams square off again in OFC final

11:36 am on 29 April 2017

In their third consecutive OFC Champions League final, New Zealand clubs Auckland City and Team Wellington will meet at Kiwitea Street in Auckland on Sunday for the first of two matches, both hopeful of claiming a spot at next year's FIFA Club World Cup in UAE.

With varying results between the two teams throughout their season, Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx believes Team Wellington's line-up is stronger than ever this year, and expects both clashes will be neck-and-neck.

Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx.

Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx. Photo: Photosport

"The main difference this year compared to last year is that they're looking to keep the ball a little bit longer, and they look to pass a bit more than they used to, but they're still a very direct team that benefits a lot from counter-attacking football," Tribulietx said.

"They're very dangerous on set pieces as well, that's how we conceded in the national league final," he said.

"They've got very good players and they're well-organised out of possession.

"We have to be prepared for a very tough game. That's what we're expecting."

After dominating New Caledonia's AS Magenta 7-1 in the second leg of their semi-final two weeks ago, Team Wellington are hungry for another victory, but coach Jose Figueira is preparing for a difficult first leg at the six-time consecutive champions' home ground.

"Auckland City have got a tremendous record at Kiwitea Street," Figueira said.

"They've got good support behind them, they've got many players that have played in many finals, and many other things swinging in their favour, especially at home, but we've shown - at home and on the road - that we can score goals," he said.