Auckland United crowned Oceania women’s champions after tight final

Auckland United have made history by winning their first OFC Women’s Champions League after beating Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United 1-0 in the final in Honiara.

Bree Johnson’s strike after 25 minutes was the difference, as the New Zealand champions held on to ensure they will return home with the trophy.

Main photograph: Bree Johnson scored the decisive goal. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

The two sides looked to impose themselves on one another early on. Hekari United keen to go one better than last year when they finished runners-up to AS Academy Féminine, while Auckland United were vying to become the first-ever New Zealand winners.

United had an early chance gifted to them through a failed clearance in the fourth minute. The ball rebounded off Bree Johnson’s shins, and Rene Wasi was the fastest to react to the loose ball. However, no one could take advantage of her low ball across the six-yard box.

Just before the half-hour mark, Auckland United found what would prove to be the decisive breakthrough.

Rene Wasi’s cross from deep ricocheted into Johnson’s path, and the forward’s pace allowed her to nick the ball past the onrushing Fidelma Watpore, allowing a comfortable side-footed finish into the unguarded net.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Down by one, but certainly not out, Hekari United came close to an equaliser through a sustained period of pressure.

Initiated by captain Marie Kaipu just after the cooling break, the Papua New Guinea international striker was closed down quickly by an attentive Auckland defence packing out the box, and her teammates were unable to find a way through.

Moments later, the Papua New Guinea champions came close again, with Phylis Pala’s looping cross batted away by Amberley Hollis, all too aware of the lurking Kaipu.

The resultant corner struck the upright, causing chaos in the box but Auckland were able to eventually clear their lines and survive.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

The Kiwi champions thought they had a second through the combination of Johnson and Wasi again, with the latter winning possession in midfield and taking off down the right flank. Her inch-perfect ball was latched onto by Johnson, who was flagged offside in a close call.

Captain Talisha Green kept Michaelyne Butubu quiet to the extent that Hekari’s mercurial forward switched to wingback in the second half to escape her attention, with second-half substitute Nenny Elipas replacing her up front.

Alaina Granger. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Despite the early flurry from Hekari, Auckland United began to assert control over the game, again with their youngsters at the heart of things.

Influentiall substitute Pia Vlok was a constant threat — picking the ball up in the middle of the park and releasing Alexis Cook who subsequently played in Danielle Canham, though the midfielder’s volley was hit right at Watpore.

The minutes ticking down, Auckland United were excellent in their ability to manage the game and held off Hekari United strongly, limiting the threat on Hollis’ goal.

The Aucklanders were jubilant at the final whistle — a trophy and their own place in Oceania’s football history.

Player of the Match

The player of the match award went to Auckland United’s Alaina Granger.

PREVIEW: Auckland United ‘inspired’ by home support as they go into final >>>>

Tournament awards

Auckland United swept three of the four tournament awards.

Auckland United were awarded the Fair Play Award, for their excellent disciplinary record throughout the campaign.

Tafea FC’s Jane Alatoa won the Golden Boot Award, having netted four goals in the tournament, all scored in the group stage. The powerful forward was a constant menace to the opposition as the Vanuatuan side made an impressive run to the semi-finals.

The Golden Glove Award for the competition’s top goalkeeper was won by Auckland United’s Amberley Hollis. The Kiwi stopper was an influential presence for her side, as they conceded only twice across all five of their matches.

Auckland United also produced the Golden Ball Award winner. Captain Talisha Green was the outstanding figure for the eventual winners, leading by example with both her on-field ability and her leadership credentials as skipper.

  • Fair Play Award – Auckland United
  • Golden Boot – Jane Alatoa (Tafea FC)
  • Golden Glove – Amberley Hollis (Auckland United)
  • Golden Ball – Talisha Green (Auckland United)


We acknowledge the assistance of OFC Media for providing our match reports during the tournament.

Watch the highlights


Game played on Saturday March 23, 2024

Auckland United 1 (Bree Johnson 25′)
Hekari United 0


Auckland United … OFC champions.

Auckland United

Amberley Hollis, Talisha Green (captain), Greer Macintosh, Danielle Canham, Bree Johnson (Pia Vlok 65′), Rene Wasi (Charlotte Roche 90+4′), Alaina Granger, Alexis Cook (Riley Sheldon 85′), Yume Harashima, Penny Brill (Kara McGillivray 65′), Kate McConnell (Poppy O’Brien 65′).

Subs not used: Piper O’Neill, Holly Rennell.


Head coach: Ben Bate
Assistant coach: Jo Dawkins
Goalkeeper coach: Margaret Kofela
Physio: Margaret Takona
Team managers: Brian Haycock, Cath Beggs

Hekari United

Fidelma Watpore, Anashtasia Gunemba, Raynata Samuel, Georgina Bakani, Serah Waida, Mavis Singara, Marie Kaipu (captain), Michaelyne Butubu, Christie Maneu (Christable Maneo 90+3′), Phylis Pala, Grace Batiy (Nenny Elipas 65′).

Subs not used: Zaire Kuyae, Hilda John, Cynthia Bangita, Shalom Waida, Marity Sep, Lavina Hola, Hortance Kimit.


Head coach: Ericson Komeng
Goalkeeper coach: Jenny Witu
Head of delegation: Vonnie Kapi Natto
Physio: Crystal Konainao
Team manager: Wira Wama
Staff: Henry Kapi Natto, Lynette Bito


Referee: Torika Delai (Fiji)
Assistant referees: Maria Salamasina (Samoa) and Natalia Lumukana (Solomon Islands)
Fourth official: Shama Maemae (Solomon Islands)
Fifth official: Lata Kaumatule (Tonga)
Referee assessor: Lindsey Robinson (England)
Co-ordinator: Cheyanne Pay (Australia)

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