The nine-time champions Auckland City had to battle hard to surpass by the minimum scoreline the good side of AS Vénus at Stade de Mahina for the second matchday of OFC Champions League – Group D. The New Zealanders had chances to score more goals, but also had to defend well to avoid the good striking force commanded by Teaonui Tehau.
Myer Bevan had a chance in front of Teave Teamotuaitau just at the starting of the clash, but the Tahitian goalkeeper could manage well to avoid the goal. Teamotuaitau was one of the best players in the clash, helping his side to manage well the New Zealand-based club pressure and making some very decent stops.
Vénus also had some opportunities; Conor Tracey tangled with Teaonui Tehau just at the edge of the box, the ball was kept by the forward that went to an empty-net goal, but the goalkeeper managed to bouce back in the play and send the ball to a corner.
The defensive line of Auckland City was solid, providing opportunities to explore the creativity of its midfielders. Clayton Lewis and Emiliano Tade combined well and the ball found Myer Bevan at the 41th of play, the striker just finish behind Teave Teamotuaitau to score Auckland first goal in the encounter.
AS Vénus wanted to make history in front of their crowd; in the second half the Mahina-based site went forward looking for an equalizer. Teoanui Tehau made a fantastic play passing by two Auckland City defenders, but his shot hit the wrong side of the net. Tamatoa Tetauira had a great chance with a free-kick, but the shot went wide.
Samuel Garcia continued to urge his player to go upfront; Auckland City was offered the counter-attack, but could not connect one good play in order to double their advatange. The Tahitians continued to press, testing the defensive system created by José Figueira until the last minute of the game. Stanley Atani crossed several balls to box, but the defensive players of Auckland could manage well the danger.
Myer Bevan had the best opportunity of the second half for Auckland City, after the goalkeeper using his hands outside the box – but not being sent off. The free-kick was close, but ended up only with a corner for the visitors. Auckland wasted a lot of time in the final moments of the game, but AS Vénus still managed to get one last chance to find their goal. Tauhiti Keck had a wide free-kick in the right flank, but he decided to fire directly to Conor Tracey goal and the goalkeeper did not have any trouble to hold the ball.
The 1-0 victory for the New Zealand representatives is enough to put them already in the knock-out stage of the competition with still one match to be played against Lupe o le Soaga. Vénus will have to get a win against Ba to not depend on any other results in the final matchday to proceed to the quarterfinals.
Vénus shown a lot of quality, fight and technique; they could really test the strongest team in Oceania at Stade de Mahina. The defensive system of Auckland City worked really well, dealing with the pressure of the home side to grab the win. The Ni-Vanuatu international Brian Kaltak had a fantastic game and helped a lot his team to secure a clean sheet – AS Vénus will be happy with their performance despite the bad result, the likes of Pothin Poma, Marama Amau and Tamatoa Tetauira had very good individual matches, but those could not be enough to surpass the mighty Auckland City.