Team Wellington have all but secured the OFC Champions League football title after thrashing Latuoka FC 6-0 in grand final first leg.
Ross Allen put the home side in front in the 16th minute at Dave Farrington Park on Sunday afternoon before substitute Jack-Henry Sinclair kick-started a four goal burst in the space of 14 second half-minutes.
Andrew Bevin, Mario Barcia and Sinclair again found the back of the net before big number six Taylor Schrijvers made it 6-0 in the final stages as the three-time Oceania runners-ups capitalised on a one-man advantage, following the sending off of semi-final hero Praneel Naidu for a late sliding challenge.
Wellington coach José Figueira said the team remained patient and stuck to their game-plan.
“It was really important for us to make a statement and put ourselves in a good position heading to the second leg,” he said.
“It was great to see the boys from start to finish maintain those standards and the high quality that we have so it’s great to see that being showcased today.”
With a maiden title within touching distance, Figueira said they have no intention to take their feet off the throttle.
“It’s just that professionalism, the standards, the integrity of the competition – we’re going to go over there and won’t change a single thing,” he said.
“For us it’s just another experience and another opportunity for the team and the players to continue growing and developing.
“It will be a tough challenge to try and maintain what we did here today so we will relish that challenge.”
Lautoka FC coach Kamal Swamy admitted their hopes of winning the title are effectively over but remained proud of their journey to the final.
The Fijian champions struggled for possession and spent the bulk of the 90 minutes defending their line.
Kamal Swamy said they felt positive at 1-0 down at half-time but the score-line quickly blew out.
“That’d what we planned that we will be defending in the first half and we will come up with the counter attack and we will go in second half pressing them high because we known they play from the back,” he said.
“But the second goal that came in I think demoralised the boys and then I think everything went in their favour.”
“We wanted to score at least a goal when we were 4-0 down to get that away goal but then getting a red card at that point I think it was indiscipline,” reflected Swamy.
“We need to prepare better for our players, it’s just like playing against quality sides which have been in this tournament for longer and they are much more better prepared.”
The return leg is at Churchill Parkon Sunday and Kamal Swamy said Lautoka will try to end the season with a win on home soil.