Oceania Champions League football holders Auckland City will begin the defence of their title against the Vanuatu national league champions, Papua New Guinea’s Lae City Dwellers and the runners-up from the Solomon Islands.
The draw for the group stage was made yesterday at OFC Headquarters, with eight-time champions Auckland drawn in Group C in the expanded 16-team competition.
Ramon Tribulietx’s side beat domestic rivals Team Wellington in the 2016 final and will represent Oceania at the FIFA Club World Cup in December.
New Caledonia champions AS Magenta, who were semi-finalists earlier this year, are joined in Group A by Papua New Guinea’s Hekari United, AS Central Sport of Tahiti and the runner-up from the Champions League qualifying stage, which brings together the top clubs from Cook Islands, Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.
New Zealand domestic champs Team Wellington, who finished runners up in the past two Oceania finals, will face the champions from Fiji, New Caledonia Super Ligue runners up Hienghene Sport, and the winner from the Qualifying Stage.
Tahiti’s AS Tefana are the only team confirmed in Group D and will be joined by the Solomon Islands champions and the runners-up from Fiji and Vanuatu.