Auckland City claim semi-final spot at OFC Men’s Champions League in Tahiti

Auckland City have confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the OFC Men’s Champions League after a 5-0 victory over Solomon Warriors at Stade Paea.

Futsal Whites captain Dylan Manickum was the star turn for the New Zealanders, scoring a hat-trick as the defending champions flexed their muscles ahead of next week’s semi-finals.

The Solomon Islands side were already assured of their elimination, having lost their opening matches, but were impressive in a first-half low on chances.

Gagame Feni — so often his side’s primary attacking outlet — was again a focal point.

The powerful forward had the first shot in vain, scuffing his effort from the edge of the box straight at goalkeeper Conor Tracey.

As the first period meandered to a close, Manickum was on hand to give the defending champions the lead.

Auckland City’s Liam Gillion (left) evades a tackle. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Stipe Ukich’s effort could only be palmed out in front of the goal by Timothy Maearasia, and Manickum tapped into the unguarded net.

Manickum made it two for himself and his side within five minutes of the restart.

Main photo: Dylan Manickum (centre) … claimed a hat-trick for Auckland City. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Substitute Tong Zhou made the most of a loose ball in the box to prod the ball through for Manickum to stab home.

The hat-trick duly followed on the hour mark. Stipe Ukich was adjudged to have been upended in the box and Manickum converted with confidence from the penalty spot.

Five minutes later and a second penalty was awarded, Ukich again winning the spot-kick.

The winger took responsibility himself, slotting into the corner to make it 4-0 with just over 20 minutes remaining.

The defending champions were showing their class as the second half wore on and a fifth goal arrived with a quarter of an hour left in the match.

Substitute Ryan De Vries showed excellent footwork to create space in the box, before dragging a clever effort inside the near post to wrong-foot Maearasia.

Auckland City must now wait for Group B’s remaining fixtures to discover their semi-final opponent, with three of four teams in that group still in the mix for a place in the final four.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Rewa beat Hekari United to reach knockout stage

Earlier in the day, Fiji’s Rewa claimed the other group A qualifying route to the semi-finals, with a 3-2 win against Hekari United.

With a number of permutations possibly dictating who would advance to the semi-finals, both sides started cautiously on what was a noticeably cooler afternoon at Stade Paea.

Hekari United came closest in the opening half hour, with Ati Kepo and Rex Naime finding themselves in similar positions on the right side of the box, only to shoot tamely at Isikeli Sevanaia.

Rewa took their time to get into the contest but when they did, their dominance told. A run down the left from Epeli Valevou resulted in a cut-back to Iowane Matanisiga, whose clipped effort sailed over Dave Tomare and nestled in the far corner.

Knowing victory was likely their only passage to the last four, Hekari United came out of the blocks with added impetus in the second period.

Only 10 minutes had elapsed when David Muta’s side were given the perfect opportunity to draw level. Kolu Kepo was tripped in the area, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot.

Rewa (white shirts) are on their way to the semi-finals of the OFC Men’s Champions League in Tahiti. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Joseph Joe assumed penalty duties and coolly sent Sevanaia the wrong way to make it 1-1.

Seven minutes later, the Papua New Guinea side turned the tie on its head.

Solomon Rani was given far too much space in the box following a one-two with Joseph, beating Sevanaia at the near post from close range.

Hekari United had a number of opportunities to secure the win but struggled to make their advantage tell, as Rewa searched for a way back in.

With little more than 15 minutes left. Samu Kautoga arrived at the back post to nod in a looping cross for his second and to bring the scores back level.

With seconds left, and Rewa’s Tevita Waranaivalu determined to get on the scoreboard, a low and powerful strike sent the ball past Hekari’s keeper in the 95th minute, to end the game 3-2.

The three point sees Rewa FC confirm their place in the semi-final, whilst Hekari United will have to wait on the result from Group A’s later match, between Auckland City FC and Solomon Warriors, to discover their fate.


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


Games played on Saturday May 18, 2024

Group A

Hekari United 2 (Joseph Joe 55’ pen, Solomon Rani 62’)
Rewa 3 (Samu Kautoga 41’, 74′, Tevita Waranaivalu 90+5′)

Auckland City 5 (Dylan Manickum 40′, 49′, 60′ pen, Stipe Ukich 66′ pen, Ryan De Vries 75′)
Solomon Warriors 0 

Final table


Games to be played on Sunday May 19, 2024

Group B

Vaivase-tai v Ifira Black Bird
Stade Pater, Pirae, Tahiti, 1pm (NZT)

AS Magenta v AS Pirae
Stade Pater, Pirae, Tahiti, 4pm (NZT)


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