Two sent off in tough battle

AUCKLAND City qualified for the semi-finals of the Fiji Airways Oceania Champions League after winning in a tension filled match against Amicale FC 3-0 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last night.

The teams were reduced to 10 men each following an incident off the pitch involving head butts resulting in both Darren White of Auckland City and Amicale captain Rijat Shala being sent off.

This incident escalated further when Shala became aggressive and shouted obscenities in the tunnel to Auckland City officials.

Police had to intervene to calm things as the reserve bench for the teams started coming into the tunnel.

Hat-trick hero Joao Moriera was the toast of the Auckland side as he took advantage of a corner that was misjudged by Amicale goalie Marko Milvojevic. Moreia tapping the ball into the goal in the 3rd minute.

It was Amicale which was in control of the game. Nippy forward Micah Lea’alafa was unstoppable with his dribbling skills and fancy footwork.

A freekick was won by Osea Vakatalesau for Amicale on the edge of the Aucjkland box, which Nicola Princivalli kicked and beat the keeper to only hit the post and rebound from what looked like inside the goalline but referee saw it otherwise.

The second half was where Amicale controlled the game and missed opportunity after opportunity but Auckland capitalised on theirs.

Super Moreira with brilliant solo effort managed to beat three defenders to smash the ball into goal in the 56th minute and then it was him again in the 64th minute who took advantage of a miskick from a corner to score.

The game was tense throughout and fouls were committed by both sides.

Amicale coach Marco Banchini agreed that the players got frustrated and lost the plot.

“They should have kept their cool and played to their pattern and the result would have been different but the boys played a grand game,” he said.

Auckland coach Ramon Tribulietx said they had come to win and he was happy with the result.

“The match was always going to be tense as the teams were gunning for a spot in the semi-final,” he said.

Auckland City now faces New Caledonia’s Gaitcha on Tuesday in the first semi-final.

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