Auckland City FC win national football final
Auckland City have completed Auckland's decade of dominance in the national football league, beating Team Wellington 1-0 in today's grand final.
Emiliano Tade scored the winner with a classy strike in the 31st minute, and while Wellington pressed hard for an equaliser in the second half, they were unable to unlock a City defence marshaled superbly by ageless skipper Ivan Vicelich.
City's deserved win means that the national title resides in Auckland for the 10th straight year.
Since the league's inception in 2004, City have won the title five times, the same number as crosstown rivals Waitakere United, who had claimed the previous four.
It was third time unlucky for Wellington, who also lost the 2008 and 2012 grand finals.
But Matt Calcott's men do have the consolation of qualifying for the Oceania Champions League for the first time, and they will join City in the competition next year.
Fittingly it was Golden Boot winner Tade – a former Wellington player - who separated the two sides.
Vicelich found the Argentinean with an angled long ball and Tade's first touch off his chest took him clear of Wellington centre back Adam Cowan.
Wellington goalkeeper and captain Jacob Spoonley – who kept his side in it with some good second-half saves – advanced and Tade coolly lifted the ball over him and into the back of the net.
It was Tade's 17th goal of the season, just two shy of the national league record set by now Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna.
Ryan De Vries and Tade wasted golden opportunities to seal the victory late in the second half, with Tade hitting the post, while James Musa almost claimed a dramatic late equaliser but his deflected shot went just wide.
Wellington left back Tom Doyle had a storming match, but playmaker Cory Chettleburgh was off colour with his passing game.