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Auckland City close to continental glory

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/05/2017

Auckland City boss Ramon Tribulietx. © AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi Auckland City boss Ramon Tribulietx. Only the most extraordinary of collapses will prevent Auckland City from claiming their seventh consecutive Oceania Champions League crown on Sunday - yet Team Wellington haven't given up hope.

Comprehensive 3-0 winners on home turf at Kiwitea Street last week, the Navy Blues travel to the Kiwi capital with one hand already on the trophy.

Team Wellington need a minimum four-goal victory to prevent a third consecutive Champions League final defeat, against a defence that has conceded just one goal in six Champions League outings.

Furthermore, preventing the likes of Joao Moreira from notching a crucial away goal for Auckland City is easier said than done.

The powerful Portuguese striker, who has been with the club since 2014, nabbed two goals in the first leg before assisting Ryan de Vries for the third.

He has scored six goals, the equal most, in this year's competition.

Yet the Wellingtonians insist they're capable of turning the tie around against the side they defeated 2-1 in last month's domestic Premiership final.

And they have the bona fides to back it up - including a seven-goal semi-final thrashing of New Caledonian outfit AS Magenta, and a six-goal showing in their domestic semi-final against Waitakere United.

"We've already climbed some mountains this season," coach Jose Figueira said.

"They're a quality side but we'll go in with our fans behind us at home, going all guns blazing and trying to turn the result around."

Should Auckland City hold onto their lead, they will head off for their seventh consecutive Club World Cup berth in the United Arab Emirates in December.

Navy Blues boss Ramon Tribulietx said he was expecting a challenging and mentally demanding battle away from home.

"We've got a good advantage, but it doesn't mean anything," Tribulietx said.

"I think the psychological side of the story is going to be very important coming into the second game."

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