The current OFC Champions League winners Auckland City needed to fight hard against Wellington Olympic in the grand final of New Zealand national league; 3-2 win gave Auckland City one more glory for their fantastic 2022 season: the Navy Blues won the Northern League, OFC Champions League – as mentioned – and Chatham Cup.
At the big Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, the team captained by Cam Howieson added up two goals in the first 45 minutes throught the efforts of Liam Gillion and the Spaniard Gerrard Garriga.
But in the final part of the match the situation turned around: Reid Drake saw a red card after a harsh foul on Jack-Henry Sinclair and his side was forced to finish the game with only 10-men.
The Wellington-based side pushed forward, but only could cut the deficit at the 77th minute thanks to a long-range shot of Tor Davenport-Petersen. The pressure was applied; Auckland City needed to hold on – and they did it successfully. The prize for good defending came in at 88th minute when Angus Kilkolly sealead the win for the Navy Blues – as it seemed to be at that time – from the edge of the box.
Two minutes from Kilkolly goal, Wellington Olympic had the chance to score one more through the penalty spot: the Cook Islands’ captain Ben Mata stepped up and scored the second for his side. But it ended-up not being enough to confirm Olympic’s reaction.
This was the first time the National League Championship was finished as planned; the COVID-19 restrictions forced the last two seasons to changes; in 2021 Auckland City nor other Northern Region side could take part in the final part of the season.
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