Marist travels to Lautoka for first leg

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BY ROMULUS HUTA

Marist FC Head Coach Jerry Allen leads the team out upon their arrival at the Honiara International Airport on Tueday

MARIST will travel to Fiji for the first leg of the Oceania Champions League all-Melanesian semi-final tie against Lautoka.

Marist arrived back in the country yesterday after qualifying for the last four of the competition thanks to their 2-1 win over Nalkutan FC of Vanuatu on Saturday.

The first leg is scheduled for Sunday April 22 at the Churchill Park in Lautoka while the return leg will be played in Honiara on Sunday April 29 at the Lawson Tama Stadium.

The fixtures for the Oceania Champions League semifinals were made known after it was released by the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) yesterday.

Marist qualified into the semifinals after securing a hard-fought 2-1 win over Vanuatu champions Nalkutan at Korman Stadium in Port Vila last Saturday.

Goals from aging striker Abraham Iniga and Davidson Tome sealed a much-deserved qualification passage for Marist to a debut last-four appearance.

For Lautoka, who boasts the inclusion of sensational Solomon Islands forward Benjamin Totori in its roster for the Oceania Champions League got their place in the semis after posting a 2-1 away quarterfinal win against AS Dragon at Stade Pater in Papeete on Sunday.

The Fijian side outplayed AS Dragon in Papeete to claim their place in the semi-final for the first time in the club’s history.

Meanwhile, the other semifinal features Team Wellington and Auckland City in an all-New Zealand semi-final, ruling out the opportunity for a repeat of the final for the three previous editions.

After seeing off Lae City Dwellers with a competition record-equalling 11-0 margin, which also set a new mark for the largest win in a knockout phase, Team Wellington have earned themselves the right to play the first leg of the semi-finals at home.

They’ll take on domestic champions Auckland City, who took out the domestic Premiership grand final between the two sides with a 1-0 victory on April 1, at Dave Farrington Park on Sunday 22 April at 1pm.

As mentioned, the two teams have met in the final of the last three editions of the OFC Champions League with Auckland yet to drop a match to their domestic counterparts in this competition to date.

Auckland City will host the return leg at Kiwitea Street on Sunday 29 April from 12.30pm.

Oceania Champions League semi-final details:

Semi-Final 1 – Lautoka FC [FIJ] vs. Marist FC [SOL]

Leg 1 | Lautoka V Marist

Sunday 22 April

Churchill Park, Lautoka

Kickoff: 15h00

Leg 2 | Marist V Lautoka

Sunday 29 April

Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara

Kickoff: 14h30

 

Semi-Final 2 – Team Wellington [NZL] vs. Auckland City [NZL]

Leg 1 | Team Wellington V Auckland City

Sunday 22 April

David Farrington Park, Wellington

Kickoff: 15h00

Leg 2 | Auckland City V Team Wellington

Sunday 29 April

Kiwitea Street, Auckland

Kickoff: 12h30

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