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Auckland City retain Oceania title

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/04/2016
<span style="font-size:13px;">Micah Lea'alafa (left) has helped book Auckland City's return ticket to the World Club Champs.</span> © Getty Micah Lea'alafa (left) has helped book Auckland City's return ticket to the World Club Champs.

Micah Lea'alafa scored two goals and set up another as Auckland City strolled to a 3-0 victory over Team Wellington in the OFC Champions League soccer final.

The Navy Blues' win in Auckland on Saturday landed them their sixth successive Oceania title and their eighth in total, and books them another trip to the Club World Cup in Japan.

In a rematch of last year's decider in Suva, which City won on penalties, the defending champions had a dream start, Lea'alafa putting them ahead in the first minute.

The Solomon Islander, backing up from his brace in the 4-2 semi-final win over Tahitian club AS Tefana, received the ball by the right touchline.

He then eluded three defenders in a run into the box before firing a shot past keeper Scott Basalaj.

City's possession football starved Wellington of the ball and they manufactured further chances in the opening spell at QBE Stadium.

They came closest to doubling their lead just before halftime, when Lea'alafa's cross into the penalty area was met by Joao Moreira, whose volley cannoned off the crossbar.

The contest continued to be largely one-way traffic in the second half.

Lea'alafa was again involved when City did get their second in the 67th, providing the pass for Clayton Lewis to finish from inside the box.

As Wellington's frustration increased, they lost Alex Feneridis with seven minutes to go, the midfielder getting a second yellow card against his former club.

No sooner had Feneridis left the field than Lea'alafa sealed his team's victory, finding the net from close range after having started the move.

The result gave City a measure of revenge, after Wellington had shocked them in the ASB Premiership final at the same venue in March by coming from behind to win in extra time.

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