Away goals bring different element to Team Wellington's OFC Champions League second leg

Getting past AS Magenta on Sunday would likely setup another final against Auckland City for Team Wellington.
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Getting past AS Magenta on Sunday would likely setup another final against Auckland City for Team Wellington.

Two away goals is a nice luxury to have, but Team Wellington don't want to rely on them to get through their OFC Champions League semifinal.

The two-time national league champions drew 2-2 with AS Magenta in Noumea last Saturday in the first leg of the two-legged semifinal.

The away goals act as a tiebreaker if the aggregate score remains tied at the end of the second leg at David Farrington Park in Wellington on Sunday, meaning a win or either a 0-0 or 1-1 draw would be enough to see Team Wellington through to the final.

Team Wellington celebrate taking the lead for the first time in the match against AS Magenta thanks to Andy Bevin's goal.
ALAIN VARTANE

Team Wellington celebrate taking the lead for the first time in the match against AS Magenta thanks to Andy Bevin's goal.

A 2-2 draw would see the game go to extra time, while any other result would see Magenta through.

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Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira was in two minds as to whether the away goals would influence their approach on Sunday.

"Yes and no," Figueira said.

"They're a really attacking team, similar to us, they like to get the ball forward and shoot and create chaos in that attacking third and hopefully that means the spaces will open up, as they did in that second half over there.

"We're treating it like every other game and we want to win and not necessarily rely on the away goals, but it's always nice to have them there as a little bit of a cushion."

Figueira's side haven't lost a match since February 5, a run of nine games unbeaten in all competitions, but struggled through the first half of the first leg in New Caledonia, going into halftime down 1-0.

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Figueira put that down to a bit of a lack of focus, adjusting to the conditions and Magenta being buoyed by scoring in the opening 10 minutes. 

They were much better in the second half and should have won the game if not for a late Magenta goal from the penalty spot.

"We created a lot of chances in the second half and probably should have put the game out of sight before their equaliser.

"We'll take away those positives from last weekend into this weekend and work on those areas that we weren't so great at."

A full squad would be a Figueira's disposal for the match, which gave him confidence they would be able to get the job done.

"At the end of the day, I think we've shown in the domestic season that if we're on our game and all on the same page and really focused on how we need to play then we're confident we can beat anyone on any given day."

If they get through the semifinal they are likely to again meet Auckland City, who take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their semi against Tefana at Kiwitea St in Auckland.

Wellington have beaten Auckland in the last two national league finals, but have lost the previous two OFC Champions League finals to Auckland, which offers the much bigger prize of a place at the Club World Cup.

 - Stuff

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