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All-NZ showdown in Champions League final

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/04/2017

A blossoming rivalry resumes when Auckland City FC and Team Wellington meet in the first leg of the OFC Champions League final.

New Zealand's two strongest domestic clubs will fight it out over two legs to find Oceania's representatives at this year's Club World Cup.

Match one is on Sunday in Auckland, followed by the return leg in the capital seven days later.

It is their third consecutive meeting in the decider, with the other two having been one-off matches.

Auckland City FC needed a penalty shootout to prevail two years ago but were more comfortable last year, winning 3-0 and earning a sixth straight trip to the FIFA club tournament.

Team Wellington have enjoyed more success against their arch rivals in the domestic championship. They have won the last two title-deciders, including a 2-1 triumph in this month's final in Auckland.

Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx concedes Team Wellington's line-up is stronger than he has seen and expects a compelling final.

"The main difference this year compared to last year is that they're looking to keep the ball a little bit longer, and they look to pass a bit more than they used to," Tribulietx said.

"But they're still a very direct team that benefits a lot from counter-attacking football. They've got very good players and they're well-organised out of possession."

Both teams were unbeaten through group play against Pacific Island opposition and then again in the two-legged semi-finals.

Team Wellington were most emphatic, hammering New Caledonia club AS Magenta 7-1 in their second leg clash in the capital.

However, coach Jose Figueira says that result will seem a world away when they confront their accomplished Auckland foe.

"They've got many players that have played in many finals, and many other things swinging in their favour, especially at home, but we've shown - at home and on the road - that we can score goals," Figueira said.

"We're a team that likes to attack and get on the front foot so we'll be aiming to try and do the same thing."

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