Auckland City FC have claimed the OFC Champions League 2022 title, and earned a place at the next FIFA Club World Cup, after a 3-0 win over Tahiti’s AS Vénus at a wet and windy Ngahue Reserve in Auckland.
First-half goals from Cam Howieson and Gerard Garriga were topped up by a late Emiliano Tade strike to secure the New Zealand club their 10th OCL crown despite a brave second-half effort from first-time finalists Vénus.
Auckland City were given the perfect opportunity to take the lead in their first OCL final since 2017 after referee David Yareboinen pointed to the penalty spot when Adam Mitchell was bundled to the ground. Auckland City captain Howieson stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards to give the record winners the early advantage.
Vénus defender Kevin Barbe demonstrated his threat in the opposing box shortly after before Auckland City took complete control of the opening period. Garriga’s persistence paid off, tapping home for 2-0 after Ryan De Vries had touched the ball past Vénus goalkeeper Teave Teamotuaitau.
Vénus skipper Teaonui Tehau had his side’s best chance of the first-half, but dragged his shot from outside the box just wide before Teamotuaitau made a stunning save to deny Garriga a brace.
With the wind behind them in the second-half, and dreams of becoming Tahiti’s first ever OCL winners slipping away, Vénus began the second-half with renewed vigour.
Terai Bremond tested Auckland City goalkeeper Conor Tracey from range before captain Tehau mistimed a header in front of goal.
Auckland City’s threat still remained, with Vénus stopper Teamotuaitau pulling off a spectacular double save from De Vries and his own defender Pothin Poma to keep his side in touching distance.
Vénus continued to press with Barbe twice wasting headed chances either side of Tracey’s save from a Yann Pennequin-Le Bras free-kick but Auckland City’s defence held firm before club stalwart Tade sealed a 10th OCL title for the New Zealanders, the Argentine forward hammering home from Garriga’s cross to secure victory.
For Vénus and Tahiti, the wait for a continental title goes on, while Auckland City stretch their record to 10 titles and book their place at the next FIFA Club World Cup.