Last gasp winner gets Auckland City home against Hekari at OFC tournament

A dramatic stoppage-time goal from Liam Gillion gave Auckland City a much-needed 1-0 win against Hekari United at the OFC Men’s Champions League.

Looking to bounce back from an opening day draw to Rewa FC of Fiji, the New Zealanders enjoyed most of the possession in the first 45 minutes but were unable to fashion much in the way of clear-cut chances.

Albert Riera’s side came closest through Gerard Garriga on two occasions, first hooking an effort wide from a tight angle, before lifting an attempted lob over the bar when well positioned.

Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United were impressive in the second half of their 2-0 win over Solomon Warriors last week and again looked threatening, especially on the break, as they sought a second win to all but ensure semi-final qualification.

Ati Kepo looked most likely for David Muta’s team in the first period but rather selfishly fired over the bar from wide on the right with teammates waiting in the penalty area.

Liam Gillion (left) … turned in a Player of the Match performance against Hekari United. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the pace of the match slowing slightly due to the hot and humid conditions.

Gillion was again the main source of threat for Auckland City, producing a great turn and shot on the 56th minute, palmed away well by Dave Tomare in the Hekari United goal.

The pacy winger went close again, flashing a free-kick over the bar from the right-hand side after he had been fouled inches outside the area.

Moments later, substitute Stipe Ukich shot narrowly wide of Tomare’s right-hand post as the defending champions desperately looked for a way through.

Tomare was called into action as the 90 minutes elapsed, athletically tipping over a curled effort from Gerard Garriga to keep the scores level.

The winner would eventually come, and it was little surprise that Gillion grabbed it, tapping in from a couple of metres out after Garriga latched on to a brilliant through ball before squaring it across the face of goal.

Main photo: Liam Gillion enjoys the moment after scoring Auckland City’s late winner. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.


We are grateful for the help of OFC Media in providing the information for this story.


Game played on Wednesday May 15, 2024 (NZT)

Auckland City 1 (Liam Gillion 90+3′)
Hekari United 0


Game to be played on Wednesday May 15, 2024

Solomon Warriors v Rewa
Papeete, Tahiti, 1pm (NZT)

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