Auckland City to play AS Magenta in semi-finals at OFC Champions League

Auckland City will play AS Magenta in the semi-finals of the OFC Men’s Champions League after the New Caledonians scored a stoppage-time winner to reach the knockout stages.

AS Magenta scored in the dying seconds to beat Ifira Black Bird 2-1 in the final group stage match at the tournament in Tahiti.

The Vanuatu side, who have dealt with their travel issues admirably, knew victory was the only path to the semi-finals, while AS Magenta needed a draw or better to reach the final four.

Main photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

In front of a loud and boisterous crowd, the opening exchanges were scrappy, with neither side able to hold onto possession and build dominance.

Ifira’s John Wohale was an early threat, going close twice in the space of three minutes, his first effort flashing wide of the near post before a second attempt bounced into the ground and narrowly wide.

Gilbert Kugogne had an excellent chance to give the New Caledonian side a crucial lead but having been found with time and space in the penalty area, he could only muster a shot straight at goalkeeper Dick Sablan.

The first period burst into life in the latter exchanges, with a pair of own goals seeing the pendulum swinging back and forth.

AS Magenta took the lead when substitute Romarick Luepak’s cross was inadvertently turned into his own net by Jacques Wanemut to open the scoring.

Four minutes later, an almost carbon copy incident levelled matters.

Johnathan Spokeyjack’s low ball across the six-yard box led to Romaric Walone scuffing an attempted clearance into the back of the net.

Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Both sides went close in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

AS Magenta’s Josua Hlemu neatly flicked an effort over the bar from a free-kick on the right, whipped in by Florian Gope.

The Vanuatu side responded with a golden opportunity for Tonly Kalotang, whose close-range shot was deflected onto the crossbar by the onrushing Sablan.

Both sides threw everything they had in order to secure the result that would guarantee a place in Wednesday’s semi-finals, but a lack of composure ensured the scoreboard remained untroubled in the second period as full-time loomed.

A wonderful opportunity to secure the win for the New Caledonians fell the way of Germain Haewegene, who beat his man brilliantly, before rashly firing his effort well over with the goal at his mercy.

The winning goal eventually came in the final seconds.

With Ifira pushing up, Magenta caught them on the break, Romarick Luepak found space to take a touch and drill a low effort into the far corner.

The result sees AS Magenta confirm a semi-final date with Auckland City, while Ifira Black Bird suffer a heartbreaking group stage exit.


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


Game played on Tuesday May 21, 2024 (NZT)

Ifira Black Bird 1 (own goal 43′)
AS Magenta 2 (own goal 39′, Romarick Luepak 90+2′)

Final standings


Games to be played on Thursday May 23, 2024 (NZT)


Auckland City v AS Magenta
Stade Pater, Papeete, 12pm (NZT)

AS Pirae v Rewa
Stade Pater, Papeete, 4pm (NZT)

More football stories