Onehunga Sports will fly the flag for Auckland Football at the northern region finals of the Manchester United Premier Cup after becoming kings of their own federation yet again.
Defending champions Onehunga, coached by Hiroshi Miyazawa and Leigh Kenyon, emerged triumphant in a round robin format over two weekends against five fellow AFF clubs – Three Kings United, Ellerslie, Fencibles United, Papakura City and Western Springs – at Papakura’s McLennan Park home.
At the start of play on the final day, Sports, Three Kings and Ellerslie were all still in the running and the last game of the competition later that afternoon effectively acted as a final with Sports and Ellerslie facing off for the title.
Both were locked on 10 points each, although Onehunga held a slight advantage with a superior goal difference of nine, two ahead of Ellerslie’s seven.
It was the eventual champions who took an early lead, Kingsley Sinclair scoring at the second attempt after his initial effort was blocked. It stayed that way until the break but Ellerslie pressed hard in the second half and that pressure paid off with Matt Palmer finding an equaliser.
The parity wasn’t to last long though, Onehunga captain Max Mata rising high to head home a cross from the right wing to make it 2-1 and book his side a passage into the northern region finals.
The northern finals will take place this Saturday at McLennan Park with Onehunga Sports set to play in a double round robin against the Northern Football winner, Oratia United, and WaiBOP Football counterpart Cambridge. The action kicks off at 9.30am.
The top two sides will progress to the national finals and the winner of the nationals will then qualify for the finals of the Pacific region.
The winner of the Pacific competition will qualify to meet the champions of other regions at the world finals in Manchester, England.
The Manchester United Premier Cup is a youth tournament that gives 15th grade players from around the globe the chance to compete against each other on an international stage.
Story by Auckland Football