5 Mar 2018

Sport: Auckland secure home advantage after Lautoka win

1:20 pm on 5 March 2018

Auckland City FC sealed the top spot in Group C of the OFC Champions League and booked a home quarterfinal after defeating Lautoka FC 1-0 at Trusts Stadium over the weekend.

Auckland City's Alfie Rogers in action

Auckland City's Alfie Rogers in action Photo: OFC/ phototek / David Joseph

It took Auckland 70 minutes to score their solitary goal from the boot of Emiliano Tade despite Lautoka of Fiji being reduced to 10 men late in the first half when Arami Manumanubai was red carded.

Auckland coach Ramon Tribulietx was pleased to secure a home quarter-final and said he expected the match to be tough.

"Lautoka are a good team. They dropped off and reduced the space in between lines, went very deep and parked the bus," he said.

"That's always going to make your life very difficult and they've also got those players that can hurt you on the counter."

However Tribulietx thought his team dealt with the counterattack well.

"Except a couple of times, that's going to happen in the game. But again for us it was a matter to keep dominating with patience, don't get too frustrated with that set-up from them.

"Just wait to see if we could score one otherwise be very patient on the ball and look we got the goal obviously with things changing, especially when they got the player sent off in the first half, that changed the goal as well." Tribulietx said.

Fiji's Lautoka FC will have to play their Champions league football quarterfinal away after losing.

Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy said the game was always going to be difficult.

"They're the defending champions and they have the home advantage," he said.

"But I think we missed five key players in this game which did not start because of the yellow cards."

"The reserves played very well, I think we knew what to do so I think it was a good game."

Auckland City will now host Papua New Guinea's Lae City Dwellers or one of the Solomon Islands duo of Solomon Warriors or Marist when the draw for the April quarterfinals is made.

As group runners up, Lautoka will travel to Papeete, Port Vila or Wellington to face AS Dragon, Nalkutan or Team Wellington - the winners of the other three groups

Lautoka's Laitia Tuilau on the move

Lautoka's Laitia Tuilau on the move Photo: OFC/ phototek / David Joseph