The Dominion Road derby between Auckland United and Auckland City promises to be a crucial clash in both clubs’ claims to take the Men’s National League title.
Going into the Saturday fixture, the clubs are the only two in the competition who remain unbeaten.
While Auckland City went into the national league as favourites after winning the Oceania Champions League, Northern League and Chatham Cup, Auckland City have compiled a formidable record of their own this year.
They finished third in the Northern League but were the only team to beat City in the competition, winning 2-0 at Keith Hay Park on September 3.
United scored an average of almost three goals a game in their Northern League campaign and while they have not been as prolific in the national competition, their defence has been solid, conceding only three goals.
Main photo: Auckland United … solid in defence. Photo: Auckland United.
Both teams have shown resilience, scoring late goals when needed, and Saturday’s game will go to the wire.
Round 5 takes the national league past its halfway stage, with the top two teams meeting in a grand final in December.
Second-placed Wellington Olympic head to Napier City Rovers where the home side is difficult to topple at Bluewater Stadium.
But a win to the impressive Olympic will put them fully in contention for a title tilt, regardless of who wins the Dominion Road derby.
Here’s the weekend schedule:
Games to be played on Saturday October 29, 2022
Napier City Rovers (7th) v Wellington Olympic (2nd)
Bluewater Stadium, Napier, 1pm
Wellington Phoenix (6th) v Miramar Rangers (9th)
Fraser Park, Taita, 2pm
Auckland United (3rd) v Auckland City (1st)
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 3pm
Games to be played on Sunday October 30, 2022
Birkenhead United (4th) v Cashmere Technical (5th)
Shepherds Park, Birkenhead, 2pm
Christchurch United (8th) v Melville United (10th)
Christchurch Football Centre, Christchurch, 2.30pm