The football weekend of football at the top-tier of football in New Zealand proved the dominance of Auckland City in the country as they beat the current title holders Eastern Suburbs away from their home stadium – to grab all points and win the Charity Cup. The weekend also saw the giants Waitakere United sealing their spot to the semifinals of the ISPS Handa Premiership with their convicing win over Hawke’s Bay United.
The sleeping giants Waitakere United is coming back to the contention. The double of the star player Dane Schnell helped the former OFC Champions League winners to guarantee their spot in the semifinals of ISPS Handa Premiership – something they were not able to since 2016/17 season.
Ahinga Selemani put the visitors upfront at the 16th minute of play, but their lead just lasted one minute – an unfortunate own goal gave Waitakere the equalizer. Dane Schnell put his side upfront still in the first half – a 2-1 advantage for Waitakere was the result at the break. Nick Zambrano and Luck Searle added another two for the home team before the former Team Wellington striker Angus Kilkolly scored for HBU to cut the deficit. The potential comeback of Hawke’s Bay ended when Schnell converted from the spot-kick to score his 11th goal of the season and decide the match for the home side. Waitakere march on to the playoffs.
The result is terrible for the team coached by Chris Greatholder; the chances of playoffs for Hawke’s Bay are now over with the outcome of their trip to Auckland to take on Waitakere.
Team Wellington did not have an easy afternoon in Dunedin when they took on Southern United. The current 2nd placed side in the process keep their chances to be premiers – finish at the top of table in the regular season – as they beat the home side by 1-0 and continue just three points away the leaders Auckland City in the process with two matches to be played.
The young talented winger Jack-Henry Sinclair was the difference between Team Welington and Southern as his goal at the end of the first half was the unique of the day in Dunedin. The three points guarantee at least a 2nd place in the process as Waitakere United can not reach Team Welly anymore in the run.
Southern United continues to have chances to reach the 4th place in the ladder, they are three points away Eastern Suburbs in the contention and will need to win their last two games in the process if they want to get a dreamed spot at the playoffs.
Tasman United missed their attacker Jean-Philippe Saïko in their encounter in Hamilton against the Wanderers, but their side still managed to hold a draw against the match that marked the debut of Solomon Islands’ football legend Henry Fa’arodo in the team coached by Kale Herbert.
Xavier Pratt put the home team upfront at the 18th minute of play, but the talented forward Jesse Randall equalized for Tasman five minutes later. The strong defender Fox Slotemaker scored another for Tasman still in the first half to give the visitors a narrow lead at the break.
Derek Tieku leveled the game for Hamilton and Pratt added another to his tally eight minutes later. Hamilton was close to celebrate a very important win against Tasman, but Lachlan Brooks broke the hearts of Wanderers when he scored in the injury time to share the spoils at Porritt Stadium.
Both Hamilton and Tasman continue in the contention for a 4th place spot as they are just two-points away Eastern Suburbs in the ISPS Handa Premiership ladder.
The terrible sequence of losses had an end for Canterbury United as a savior Luke Tongue goal at injury time gave the Dragons a draw against Phoenix Reserves.
The good prospect Ahmad Othman scored another in the season to his tally and the first for Phoenix Reserves in the clash. The 1-0 result was the outcome of a hard fought match in the first 45 minutes of contest.
The Christchurch-based side was in an emotional day as the last 15th March completed one-year of the mass-shooting tragedy in the city mosques. Both teams weared black arm-bands in honours of the victims of the sad case. The fight of Canterbury paid off when they scored at the 94th minute of the game through Luke Tongue to end their drought of points in the last place of the ladder.
The Charity Cup trophy was won by Auckland City as they beat Eastern Suburbs by 2-0 in the city derby. The title holders gave a lot of fight for the Navy Blues that could just decide the game in the second half.
Brian Kaltak scored the first for Auckland at 60th minute of play – it was his 4th goal in six matches for his team. The prolific goalscorers Myer Bevan added another to his tally and for his team to give final numbers to the clash at 89th minute: Auckland City wins by 2-0.
Auckland continues three-points clear at the top of the standings, being followed by Team Wellington. Eastern Suburbs is still to confirm their spot at the ISPS Handa Premiership playoffs, their next two matches in the process will be decisive for the fate in the national league. The Lilywhites are followed by Tasman, Hamilton and Southern in the process and any points can decide the final spot in the post-seaosn contention.
To check the full standings, top goalscorers of the season so far and the updated results of all matchweeks, visit our session of the current season of ISPS Handa Premiership.