South title in five years on the line for Pride

BIG OCCASION: Pride captain Annalie Longo will lead her side in their fifth straight final appearance.

Canterbury United Pride are one game away from their fourth title in five years as they continue to dominate the national women’s football league.

The Pride will take on Auckland in the league final on Sunday at English Park. The two teams only previous meeting saw the Pride walk away 1-0 winners at the same ground last month, courtesy of a 90th-minute winner from Britneylee Nicholson.

However, the Pride are expecting a much stronger Auckland team to run onto the field at English Park.

“They were missing a couple of key players (last month) so we know they’ll be an even tougher task on Sunday. We certainly can’t take them lightly,” said Pride captain Annalie Longo.

The task won’t be any easier for the Pride with two of Football Ferns missing from the side – striker Aimee Phillips, and defender Meikayla Moore who is out of the country trialling with several clubs in Germany.

“You’d love to have your best players available but we have a really good group of young girls who have stepped up throughout the season,” said Longo.

The Pride secured their final berth by finishing top of the league after the round-robin, while Auckland defeated Southern United 3-1 in the preliminary final at the weekend.

It will be the fourth consecutive year the Pride have hosted the final. Their only slip-up in an otherwise perfect home final record was a thrilling 3-4 loss to Northern Football in 2015.