Auckland City and Eastern Suburbs go into Sunday’s Chatham Cup final knowing either side can create history if they win.
For City, victory will give them a dream treble of winning the cup, the Northern League and the OFC Champions League.
A Lilywhites win will be the club’s seventh, equalling the all-time record for Chatham Cup successes.
The clubs have met twice this season, in the Northern League, with Auckland City winning both matches.
City beat Suburbs at Madills Farm 4-1 on May 21 and then followed up with a 2-1 win at the Croatian Cultural Club on June 29.
Here’s how the clubs shape up as the big final approaches:
Auckland City are chasing a dream treble, having already secured the Northern League and the OFC Champions League.
City have not won the Chatham Cup before, though their sister club Central United is a past winner.
Coach Albert Riera told Auckland City FC’s website his side wanted to bounce back from their only loss in 2022, the 2-0 defeat by Auckland United in the final round of the Northern League.
“We talked about the defeat to Auckland United on Tuesday and the senior players said its all about how we bounce back as a team after losing and I completely agree.
“I think the defeat came at the right time for us and against one of the best teams in New Zealand, which is Auckland United.
“It’s going to be an interesting task to see how everyone bounces back and it’s the best occasion we could have to prove that.”
Eastern Suburbs can equal the record for the most number of Chatham Cup wins if they carry off the trophy for a seventh time this year. They would join University-Mount Wellington and Christchurch United as the most successful cup teams ever.
Sunday will be their 10th appearance in a final.
Three Suburbs players will have little time for celebrations if Suburbs lift the cup as they will head to Tahiti to join the New Zealand squad competing at the OFC U-19 Championship.
Goalkeeper Joe Knowles, Jackson Jarvie and Aaryan Raj have already missed New Zealand’s group games against Cook Islands and American Samoa but will arrive in time for the final pool match against the Solomon Islands, and any knockout stage games.
READ MORE: Suburbs players to join New Zealand U-19s in Tahiti >>>>
Supporters rally behind finalists
Auckland City supporters are meeting at The Merchant Bar in Albany at 2.00pm on Sunday and the club is giving prizes to young supporters with the best banners.
Eastern Suburbs fans are gathering at Madills Farm from midday and will have face-painting and sign-making materials available. Their supporters’ bus leaves Madills Farm at 2.10pm.
Gates open at North Harbour Stadium at noon.
Chatham Cup final
Auckland City v Eastern Suburbs
North Harbour Stadium, Albany, 4pm
How they got to the final
R2: Beat Mt Albert Ponsonby 3-0 (away)
R3: Beat Fencibles United on pens after 2-2 (away)
R4: Beat Birkenhead United 2-0 (away)
QF: Beat Waiheke United 1-0 (away)
SM: Beat Hamilton Wanderers 1-0 (home)