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Auckland City grab finals spot

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/03/2017

Auckland City have booked their place in the national domestic soccer league final, downing Hawke's Bay United 1-0 at Kiwitea St in Auckland on Saturday.

Auckland overwhelmingly dominated possession and territory but had to wait until the 64th minute to grab the lead, with Micah Lea'alafa's strike proving the defining moment.

Forward Ryan De Vries and Lea'alafa combined smoothly outside the box before the dangerous midfielder lashed home with a superb finish.

Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx, missing three of his starting line-up in Clayton Lewis, Joao Moreira and Fabrizio Tavano, said his team had to work hard for the win.

"We completely dominated but we did not capitalise on the chances that we created in the first half.

"It was a well-played game against a very good side - they defended well and very deep, and made life hard for us."

Ten minutes after Lea'alafa's goal, the task got a lot tougher for Hawke's Bay United when hard-working midfielder Cory Chettleburgh was sent off for a second yellow card after a foul on De Vries.

Six-time Premiership champions Auckland will face either defending champions Team Wellington or Waitakere United, who meet in the second semi-final on Sunday.

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