Hekari picks up OFC fair play award

The National, Monday April 25th, 2016

DESPITE missing out on the OFC Champions League race, Hekari United has won the fair play award to add to their OFC  trophy collection.
This will be their second award, the first being the OFC Champions trophy won in 2010, which qualified the team to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Hekari won the fair play award while Auckland City striker Joao Moreira picked up the Golden Boot award.
Auckland City made it six-in-a-row after defeating Team Wellington 3-0 in the final of the OFC Champions League on Saturday.
They will take on some of the best players on the planet yet again at December’s FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.
The Navy Blues earned the right to represent the South Pacific in Japan, with Solomon Islander Micah Lea’alafa proving the inspiration with a double and an assist for the victors.
Having wrestled the ASB Premiership title from out of Auckland’s grasp at the same ground in March, Wellington were looking for a similar outcome but instead had to settle for a repeat of the defeat they suffered in last year’s OFC Champions League final to the same opponents.
The men from the capital never really got going and their afternoon of misery was added to when former Auckland midfielder Alex Feneridis was dismissed late on for a rash challenge on City fullback Takuya Iwata.
To have any hope of upsetting the eight-times champions, Wellington needed to frustrate Auckland for a long as possible and disrupt their passing game but those tactics went out the window straight away when Auckland struck in the opening minute.
The skilful Lea’alafa picked the ball up on the right and displayed all of his trademark pace and trickery to cut inside and ghost his way past a pair of challenges before leaving Chris Bale flat-footed in the box and rifling a low shot inside the far post.
With the scores at 2-0 after the break, Lea’alafa on the 86th drove a volley through several players to find the net, wrapping up a forgettable day for Wellington and sealing Auckland’s sixth Oceania Football Confederation crown.

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