Auckland City hold all the aces in football final

Last updated 05:00 16/03/2014

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Auckland City is the overwhelming favourite for today's domestic football final against Wellington.

With home advantage, history and form all on City's side, Wellington will need an extraordinary performance to cause what would be a major upset this afternoon.

Auckland, who beat Wellington to the regular season title by seven points, stormed their way into the championship match by crushing Waitakere City 8-1 on aggregate in the semis.

Wellington, meanwhile, overcame Hawke's Bay United 3-1 over two legs to book their place in the final.

However, despite being underdogs, Wellington is at least guaranteed to be celebrating something by the end of the game.

The latest format of Oceania Football's champions league sees two New Zealand teams qualify, with the spots going to the winners of the minor premiership (Auckland) and the grand final - but if the same team wins both, the second slot will go to the regular season runners-up.

Playing in the Oceania champions league would give Wellington a shot at club World Cup qualification - which guarantees $590,000 in prize money from Fifa.

In what is Auckland City's sixth grand final, Ramon Tribulietx's side will be chasing a fifth victory while Team Wellington, coached by Matt Calcott, are involved in the season's last match for the third time, twice losing to Waitakere United.

Auckland City won both regular season matches between the teams with a 4-1 victory in Wellington in November and two months later a 3-2 win at Kiwitea Street, site of today's final.

Kickoff is at 2.35pm.

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- Sunday Star Times

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