Auckland City’s Portuguese striker Joao Moriera opened his OFC Champions League account when he finished the fine work started by his teammates 12 minutes in.
The second goal followed just over ten minutes later when former K-League midfielder Daewook Kim capitalised on a moment of miscommunication between Nadi goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara and his defenders to send the New Zealanders two goals clear.
Nadi gave their best on the field but, despite their sturdy stature, Kamal Swamy’s charges struggled to pull themselves back in line with the defending champions.
Auckland City further increased their lead over the hosts in the 40th minute when another great team build-up was finely finished by Emiliano Tade.
An increasingly physical encounter was punctuated in the second half by a studs-up challenge from Samuela Drudru on Auckland City defender Angel Berlanga which earned a straight red card and saw Berlanga stretchered off.
It will be subdued celebrations with the win for Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx given the way the match ended for his side.
“Probably the only good thing is the three points we got out of it,” Tribulietx said.
“We had a couple of injuries, the game was very rough in the end unfortunately but what can we do. At least we’ve got to be happy with those three points.
“I think in the first half we created a lot of chances, not just those three goals, but a lot of opportunities to capitalise. I think the football was very good in the first half, the second half changed a bit as we expected but we’ve got to be positive.”
For defeated Nadi coach Swamy there were both good and bad points his side can take from the match.
“I think in the second half we contained them and that was a great achievement,” Swamy said.
“In the first half, the goals were just because of our decision making and they’ve just given the goals away. Our defenders made blunders where they’re not supposed to do it and they did it, and that’s why Auckland City scored.
“It is a learning experience for Nadi and I think we will go back to the drawing board and work on the strategies to come back and play against the other teams well.”
In the day’s other Group B encounter, Amicale (Vanuatu) edged AS Dragon (Tahiti) 1-0.
The OFC Champions League continues on Wednesday 9 April, with the first Group A encounter of the competition at Churchill Park.
Kiwi FC (Samoa) kick things off against Waitakere United (New Zealand) before Solomon Warriors (Solomon Islands) take on AS Pirae (Tahiti).
Story by Oceania Football