Warriors meet Auckland while Marist takes on Nalkutan in Oceania Champions League quarter
BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE Oceania Champions League quarterfinal fixtures were made known yesterday.
The draws were held at the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Secretariat in Auckland, New Zealand.
Quarterfinal matches are to be played on the weekend of April 7 and 8 on four venues across the region.
After the completion of the group stage competition matches on Saturday, the four pool winners namely Nalkutan (Pool A), AS Dragon (Pool B), Auckland City (Pool C) and Team Wellington (Pool D) will host the last eight matches.
The draws also outlined the pathway for the semi and the grandfinal.
The draws revealed that Solomon warriors who finished second in Pool B will face Group C winner Auckland City at Kiwitea Street on April 8 in the third quarterfinal while Marist who is the runner up of Group D will take on Group A winner Nalkutan of Vanuatu in the second quarterfinal.
The Melanesian affair encounter between Marist and Nalkutan will take place at the Korman Stadium on April 7.
Group A runner up Lae City Dwellers of Papua New Guinea found themselves against Team Wellington of New Zealand in the first quarterfinal April 7 while the fourth quarterfinal is between Lautoka and AS Dragon.
Adding intrigue to this year’s competition for fans is the semi-final and final.
After two years of the same four semi-finalists and three editions of Auckland City and Team Wellington in the final, today’s draw, and the earlier elimination of AS Magenta of New Caledonia, ensured this won’t be the case in 2018.
One of the semi-finals will feature the winners of quarter finals one and two – the two which feature the New Zealand teams. Meaning should they beat their respective opponents in the one-off quarter final matches at home, they would then meet in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final will feature the winners of the match between Dragon and Lautoka, and Nalkutan and Marist.
Finally, the winner of Semi-Final 2 will get the first leg of the final played at home, before travelling to their opponent’s ground for the second leg which will take place in May.
The Oceania Champions League is the region’s premier international club competition.
OFC Competitions Director Chris Kemp said following four entertaining groups, the knockout stage of the OFC Champions League 2018 is also set to delight fans.
“We experienced excellent engagement from fans who followed the Group Stage and we’re delighted that so many have expressed their excitement ahead of the Knockout Stage,” Kemp said.
“The draw has set up some really exciting encounters with most of the quarter final teams set to meet for the first time in the competition.
“We look forward to the OFC Champions League getting back underway, after the international break, in early April.”
OCEANIA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS
Match 1 07.04.2018. 14:00
Team Wellington : Lae City Dwellers FC, David Farrington Park
Match 2 07.04.2018. 16:00
Nalkutan FC : Marist FC, Korman Stadium
Match 4 07.04.2018. 19:00
AS Dragon : Lautoka FC, Stade Pater
Match 3 08.04.2018. 14:00
Auckland City FC : Solomon Warriors, Kiwitea Street.