Team Wellington seek another final win over Auckland City

Ninety minutes of football is unlikely to separate Team Wellington and Auckland City on Saturday.

The OFC Champions League final at QBE Stadium in Auckland will be the third time the teams have met in a final in the last 12 months, with the previous needing at least extra time to separate the sides.

Last year's OFC final went the way of Auckland on penalties, while Team Wellington claimed their first ASB Premiership title with a 4-2 extra time win over Auckland a month ago.

Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott said he expected another tight tussle.

"The results have pretty much been shared over the last two years and the final result has come down to a piece of individual brilliance or a contentious decision.

"They are extremely patient and clinical if you make a mistake.

"We have to make sure we stick to the plan and be disciplined in everything we do. This game is going to be so different from the other games that we have both played so far in this competition mentally and physically and is going to be more a game of chess for 90 minutes."

The teams have taken similar paths to the final, labouring through poolplay before picking up two-goal wins in their semifinals.

Calcott believed his side were just hitting their stride.

"I think we have been progressively getting better and better with every game. The little things are becoming more familiar and automatic."

Team Wellington striker Tom Jackson has started to establish himself as a player for the big occasion.

He netted two goals in the ASB Premiership final win, while also slotting a brace in his side's 2-0 semifinal win over Magenta during the week.

He said the winner of this final would come down to which team wants it more.

"You see it all the time underdogs in finals coming out on top because they simply just wanted it more.

"We also need to manage our energy levels though, because as we showed a few weeks ago [in the ASB Premiership final] it could easily be won late, so we need to make sure we have enough in the tank to go the full distance."

Captain Bill Robertson returns from suspension for the final, but striker Ben Harris remains in doubt with a leg injury.

Auckland have won the last five OFC Champions League finals, going on to represent Oceania at the Club World Cup, but their coach, Ramon Tribulietx, did not think that finals experience gave them the upperhand.

"With success the expectations are also growing and it doesn't get any easier," he said.

"Experience counts for something but we also have a lot of young players. The nerves will be there for all of us on the day."

AT A GLANCE

OFC Champions League final

Where and when: QBE Stadium, Auckland, and SS3, 2.30pm Saturday

TAB (to win the title): Auckland $1.35, Wellington $3

Auckland:  Jacob Spoonley (gk), Marko Dordevic, Takuya Iwata, Mario Bilen, Angel Berlanga, Jesse Edge, Reid Drake, Michael Den Heijer, Darren White, Ryan de Vries, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Nicolai Berry, Alfred Rogers, Clayton Lewis, Ivan Vicelich, Daewook Kim, Joao Moreira, Danyon Drake (gk), Micah Lea'alfa, Emiliano Tade, Andrew Milne, Diego Rivas (gk), Fabrizio Tavano

Wellington: Scott Basalaj (gk), Taylor Hough, Steven Gulley, Anthony Hobbs, Bill Robertson, Chris Bale, Leo Villa, Cole Peverley, Tom Jackson, Luis Corrales, Mario Barcia, Andy Bevin, Alex Feneridis, William Scott, Mark Jones, Ben Harris, Fergus Neil, Saul Halpin, Conor McGlinchey, Michael Gwyther, Taylor Schrijvers, Alex Carr, Michael O'keeffe (gk)

 

 - Stuff