Auckland City book place in final of OFC Men’s Champions League

Auckland City’s defence of their OFC Men’s Champions League title remains alive after a hard-fought semi-final victory over New Caledonia’s AS Magenta at Stade Pater in Tahiti.

The New Zealand side — looking to win a record-extending 12th crown -— were made to work hard for the 1-0 win by an AS Magenta side who had only one day’s rest following their rescheduled final group stage match against Ifira Black Bird on Monday afternoon (NZT).

Young winger Stipe Ukich was the match-winner for coach Albert Riera’s side, who will face either AS Pirae (Tahiti) or Rewa (Fiji) in Friday’s showpiece final.

Main photo: Stipe Ukich (left) … scored the vital goal. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Later in the day, AS Pirae beat Rewa 4-2 in extra time of the second semi-final, after the sides were locked 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.

READ MORE: Tahiti side need extra time to join Auckland City in OFC Champions League final >>>>

Pierre Wajoka’s AS Magenta team showed considerable promise throughout and almost took the lead in the 20th minute.

Cyril Drawilo chased a seemingly lost cause to hook the ball back for Germain Haewegene, but the forward could only direct his header straight at City goalkeeper Conor Tracey.

AS Magenta stop an Auckland City attempt on goal. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Liam Gillion had Auckland City’s best chance of the half, twisting and turning dangerously on the byline but his shot from a narrow angle was comfortably blocked by Mickael Ulile.

It was the New Caledonians that began the second period the stronger side, Jimmy Watu stinging the palms of Tracey with a left-footed effort having worked space for himself well on the right-hand side.

Haewegene was presented with perhaps his side’s clearest chance of the match, breaking clear onto a through ball over the top of the Auckland City defence, only to shoot straight at Tracey with time and space at his disposal.

The breakthrough came for the defending champions in the 66th minute.

Ukich was found on the right-hand side of the box and he showed considerable composure to cut inside a defender before opening his body up and side-footing calmly into the far corner to give his side the lead.

AS Magenta’s compacted schedule was taking a toll as the match ticked towards the 90-minute mark, with Auckland City showing their experience in controlling the tempo of the play.

Substitute Ryan De Vries had a good opportunity to double the lead in the 85th minute, latching onto a smart cutback from fellow sub Tong Zhou, but his effort from the edge of the box flew well over the bar.

Auckland City’s Liam Gillion takes on his market. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Any hopes of an AS Magenta comeback were all but extinguished in the 86th minute when Jean Claude Jewine was shown a red card for an act of dissent towards the referee, leaving his side with an even taller task.

It was a task that proved too much, as the New Zealanders saw out the final minutes to clinch victory and secure their place in the OFC Men’s Champions League final.


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


Games played on Thursday May 23, 2024 (NZT)


Auckland City 1 (Stipe Ukich 66′)
AS Magenta 0

AS Pirae 4 (Désiré Ngiamba 90′ pen, 90+6′ pen, Patrick Tepa 98′, own goal 111′)
Rewa 2 (Patrick Joseph 35′ pen, Samu Kautoga 90+9′)
*After extra time


Game to be played on Saturday May 25, 2024 (NZT)


Auckland City v AS Pirae
Stade Pater, Papeete, Tahiti, 4pm (NZT)

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