Wellington Olympic and Auckland City to meet in OFC qualifiers in early 2024

Arch rivals Auckland City and Wellington Olympic will meet in a two-legged play-off in late summer to decide which club represents New Zealand at the 2024 OFC Champions League.

The clubs qualify for the Oceania play-offs after finishing first and second in the Men’s National League, and they’ll meet in the Grand Final of that competition at Auckland’s Go Media Stadium Mt Smart on Sunday.

The games continue a run of high-stakes matches between the two clubs.

Last December, they met in the Men’s National League Grand Final at Mt Smart, with Auckland City winning 3-2.

READ MORE: Auckland City land historic quadruple after winning five-goal Grand Final >>>>

In March 2023, the clubs played a two-legged play-off for qualification to the OFC Champions League, with City winning 6-4 on aggregate.

READ MORE: Tade rescues Auckland City with hat-trick to seal OFC Champions League spot >>>>

While Auckland City gained ascendancy in those games, Olympic won their latest meeting, beating the Navy Blues 3-1 in Round 8 of the National League, and ending the side’s seven-year unbeaten streak at Kiwitea Street.

READ MORE: Seven-year record comes to an end for Auckland City at Kiwitea Street >>>>

Auckland City won the 2023 OFC Champions League in Vanuatu in May. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

How the OFC Champions League qualifiers work

Eight clubs will contest the OFC Champions League at a tournament hosted by one of the region’s member associations.

The venue and dates have yet to be announced.

Each member association decides the format for qualification to this tournament, and NZ Football chose for it to be the play-off between the top two teams in the Men’s National League.

Seven of the qualifiers will come from play-offs to be held in February/March, including the two-legged contest between Auckland City and Wellington Olympic.

The eighth qualifier will be decided through a mini-tournament in February, involving clubs from the four lowest-ranked countries.

Why the OFC Champions League is important

In recent years, the winner of the OFC Champions League has become the region’s representative at the lucrative FIFA Club World Cup.

Auckland City, as current OFC champions, will go to this year’s Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia in December.

READ MORE: African champs await Auckland City if they win opening tie at FIFA Club World Cup >>>>

However, the format for the FIFA Club World Cup is changing to an expanded competition, for 32 clubs, and will be held four-yearly.

The first under the new format will be staged in 2025.

The Oceania representative will be the best-performing club in the OFC Champions League over the previous four-year cycle (2021-2025).

Last four meetings

Sunday December 4, 2022

Grand Final
Men’s National League

Auckland City 3 (Liam Gillion 33′, Gerard Garriga 40′, Angus Kilkolly 88′)
Wellington Olympic 2 (Tor Davenport Petersen 77′, Ben Mata 90+1′ pen)

Saturday March 11,2023

OFC Champions League qualifier
First leg

Wellington Olympic 1 (Joel Stevens 37′)
Auckland City 1 (Christian Gray 79′)

Saturday March 18, 2023

OFC Champions League qualifier
Second leg

Auckland City 5 (Liam Gilliam 23′, Emiliano Tade 74′, 77′ pen, 87′ pen, Angus Kilkolly 85′)
Wellington Olympic 3 (Ben Mata 16′ pen, Hamish Watson 28′, 62′)

Sunday November 12, 2023 

Men’s National League
Round 8

Auckland City 1 (Dylan Manickum 79′)
Wellington Olympic 3 (own goals 64′, 74′, Gianni Bouzoukis 89)

The next meeting

Men’s National League Grand Final

Game to be played on Sunday November 26, 2023

Auckland City v Wellington Olympic
Go Media Stadium, Auckland, 1pm

The men’s Grand Final will be followed by the women’s final.

Women’s National League Grand Final

Auckland United v Southern United
Go Media Stadium, Auckland, 4pm

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