Suspensions cause problems for Auckland City’s OFC Champions League rivals

Auckland City’s opening game opponents at the OFC Men’s Champions League tournament in Tahiti face a defensive dilemma after suspensions to two key players.

Fiji’s Rewa FC will be without Iosefo Verevou and Samuela Kautoga, who both received two yellow cards against Lautoka in the national play-offs against Lautoka in February.

This means Rewa will have to re-arrange their backline around Peniame Drova for the match against Auckland City on Saturday May 11.

Main photo: Auckland celebrate with the trophy after their OFC Champions League success in 2022. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Auckland City are chasing their third OFC title in a row, and their 12th overall.

Auckland City’s Angus Kilkolly helped seal his side’s 2023 title with a goal from the penalty spot in the final against Suva at the tournament in Vanuatu. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

The Navy Blues’ opponents in Group A are Rewa, who finished runners-up in last season’s Fiji Premier League, Papua New Guinea champions Hekari United and Solomon Warriors, who won the Telekom S-League in a tight three-way finish.

In Group B, the qualifying clubs are Tahiti’s AS Pirae, runners-up in the 2022-23 Tahiti Ligue 1, seven-time Samoa National League winners Vaivase-Tai, Vanuatu’s Ifira Black Bird and AS Magenta, who won New Caledonia’s 2023 Super Ligue.

Ifira Black Bird gave Auckland City a huge scare in the 2023 tournament semi-final, losing a penalty shoot out to the New Zealanders after scores were tied 2-2 after extra time.

The prize for winning the OFC Champions League

The winners of the OFC Men’s Champions League will qualify to represent Oceania at a new annual FIFA club competition, the FIFA Intercontinental Cup.

READ MORE: Pathway confirmed for New Zealand clubs in new annual FIFA competition >>>>

The groups

Group A

  • Auckland City (New Zealand)
  • Solomon Islands Warriors (Solomon Islands)
  • Hekari United (Papua New Guinea)
  • Rewa (Fiji)

Group B

  • AS Pirae (Tahiti)
  • Vaivase-Tai FC (Samoa)
  • Ifira Black Bird (Vanuatu)
  • Magenta (New Caledonia)

Knockout stages

The winners of Group A will play the runners-up of Group B, and the winners of Group B will play the runners-up of Group A in semi-finals to be staged on Saturday May 25, 2024.

The semi-finals will kick off at 1pm (NZT) and 5pm (NZT).

The final will be played at 5pm (NZT) on Tuesday May 28, 2024.

How to watch

All games from the OFC Men’s Champions League will be streamed live and free by FIFA+.

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