New Zealand’s next national women’s champions will be either Auckland United or Southern United after both sides clinched places in the Grand Final of the Women’s National League.
Both sides won their final games in the league on Sunday, ensuring they filled the top two places in the competition.
They’ll meet to decide the national title at Auckland’s Go Media Stadium Mt Smart on Sunday November 26.
Main photo: Southern United players celebrate at the final whistle.
Auckland United, the current Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League title holders, were the first to secure their finals berth as they kicked off at 1pm, an hour before the rest of the Round 9 schedule.
They had to work hard to overcome a resilient CF Wellington United and were leading 2-1 when defender Chelsea Elliott struck a direct free kick from more than 45 metres, sending it high into the net.
With their two-goal buffer, the Aucklanders grew in confidence and, in the end, finished with a comfortable 4-1 margin.
Meanwhile, in Dunedin, Southern United needed to beat Ellerslie to ensure a place in the final.
After a good showing from the Aucklanders for the first half-hour, United struck twice to go into the interval 2-0 ahead.
Leading scorer Amy Hislop put the result beyond doubt with a late penalty.
In Christchurch, defending champions Eastern Suburbs desperately needed a win — and for either Auckland United or Southern United to lose — to reach back-to-back finals.
It was not to be.
Suburbs went ahead through Zoe Benson but Canterbury United Pride levelled through Chloe Bellamy on the stroke of half-time.
In the second spell, Canterbury took the lead and Suburbs clawed their way back through Emily Lyon.
Tied 2-2, Charlotte Lancaster put the Lilywhites ahead seven minutes into stoppage time, to get the win.
But news filtered through that both their rivals had also won, depriving Suburbs of their own finals hopes.
Games played on Sunday November 19, 2023
CF Wellington United 1 (own goal 78′)
Auckland United 4 (Bree Johnson 41′, Suya Haering 69′, Chelsea Elliott 84′, Kate McConnell 90+5′)
Canterbury United Pride 2 (Chloe Bellamy 45+4′, Whitney Hepburn 50′)
Eastern Suburbs 3 (Zoe Benson 39′, Emily Lyon 70′, Charlotte Lancaster 90+8′)
Western Springs 3 (Sofia Garcia 73′, Lara Colpi 90′, Ela Jerez 90+4′)
CF Waterside Karori 2 (Kaley Ward 10′ pen, Jade Morrissey 57′)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (own goal 28′)
Central Football 0
Southern United 3 (Margarida Dias 32′, Kendrah Smith 37′, Amy Hislop 90+1′, pen)
Women’s National League Grand Final
Game to be played on Sunday November 25, 2023
Auckland United v Southern United
Go Media Stadium, Auckland, 4pm
Tickets for the Grand Final
Tickets for the National League finals are on sale for $10pp but are free to members of NZ Football’s Whānau mailing list, and to U-16s.
By subscribing to NZF’s Football Whānau mailing list, you will receive news and offers, such as the promotion code enabling you to access your complimentary tickets to the Grand Finals.
The women’s Grand Final will follow the men’s Grand Final between Auckland City and Wellington, which kicks off at 1pm.
Tickets cover both matches.
On Saturday November 25, the Wellington Phoenix play a men’s and women’s A-League double header at Go Media Stadium. See below for ticket links.