New Zealand football fans are on the edge of their seats as Wellington Olympic and Auckland City fight for the final berth in the OFC Champions League 2023 group stage. Both teams finished in the top two spots of the NZ National League last season, with Auckland City emerging as champions. However, only one team can represent New Zealand in the regional tournament, and both sides are eager to claim that honor.
The current O-League winners, Auckland City has a rich footballing history, having won ten OFC Champions League titles, while Wellington Olympic is looking to make its first appearance in the OFC Champions League. The first leg of the battle was played in Wellington at Martin Luckie Park, and it was a thrilling encounter from start to finish.
In the first half, Wellington Olympic dominated play and created a number of chances. The talented Joel Stevens scored for the hosts at the 37th minute to give them the lead, sending the home crowd into raptures. However, Auckland City regrouped and made their best efforts to find an equaliser in the second half. Finally, in the 79th minute, defender Christian Gray headed the ball into the net to equalize for Auckland City, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
The second leg of the battle will take place next Saturday, March 18th, at Kiwitea Street in Auckland. This match will decide which of the two sides will travel to Vanuatu for the OFC Champions League group stage. It’s a crucial match for both teams, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The first leg was part of the OFC Champions League national play-off, and the second leg promises to be another exciting contest between two of New Zealand’s best football teams.