Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 2 November 2019
NAPIER, New Zealand - A first half hat-trick by Myer Bevan has given Auckland City FC a 3-2 winning start to the ISPS Handa Premiership season in Napier today.
The All Whites striker, release by Vancouver Whitecaps during the winter, wrapped up his treble in fine style but the Navy Blues had to hang on as Hawke's Bay United twice threatened to comeback.
Bevan, who netted 12 goals in just five appearances for New Zealand U-23 at the Olympic Games qualifiers, had bagged two within five first half minutes to set Auckland City FC off to a flyer.
That advantage was halved when Gavin Hoy's brilliant free-kick flew past Enaut Zubikarai just after the half hour mark.
Zubikarai had to be in top form throughout an exciting match first denying Ihaia Delaney then Dylan Sacramento.
STARTING XI - Here is how the #NavyBlues line up for today's season opener against Hawke's Bay United. Kick off is less than 30 minutes away! #HBvAC #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues pic.twitter.com/OmkWikPb1L— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 2, 2019
Bevan restored the Navy Blues two-goal cushion just before halftime with a deadly finish to leave the home side reeling.
All coaches fear an advantage loosening when goals have come so freely for them and that must've been on Ivan Vicelich's mind when substitute Jack Parker clawed one back for Hawke's Bay midway through the second half.
Yousif Ali then went close when he lashed a shot that clipped the Hawke's Bay United crossbar with 14 minutes left.
Stand-in coach Ivan Vicelich was pleased with a winning start and delighted for Bevan.
"I'm really happy to pick up a win in the first game. We've got a lot of new players on board so to get three points here is a great start.
"We played some good football and were worthy of our 3-1 lead at halftime and I was happy with how we performed.
"Hawke's Bay United threw more players forward in the second half which made it difficult for us to play out and there was more intensity to the game.
"They were a difficult opponent and played well and their goal from the free-kick was a quality strike - it had to be to beat a goalkeeper like Enaut.
"But I'm delighted for Myer. He's worked hard in pre-season and picked up his reward with a hat-trick.
"When you sign a striker of his quality you want to see them scoring goals and today was his day.
"There was a lot of good support from the players around Myer through assists and if we can keep that up then we'll be happy," Vicelich said.
Despite the grandstand finish, Auckland City FC held on for a 3-2 win and now turn their focus to next Sunday's showdown with Team Wellington at Kiwitea Street.
Elsewhere, Waitakere United got off to a winning start with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix reserves while Southern United tore Tasman United apart by 4-0 to mark the opening of their Logan Park artificial pitch.
POST-MATCH - "I'm delighted for Myer" - Vicelich#NavyBlues assistant coach @IvanVicelich was pleased to notch a first victory of the 2019-20 #ISPSHandaPrem season.— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 2, 2019
Find out more at the link below.
https://t.co/Wb9DmRc6mH (Match Report) pic.twitter.com/MKEahT5qCZ
Tomorrow sees Eastern Suburbs host Canterbury United in the Sky Sport match at Madills Farm, Auckland, at 4pm NZST, while Team Wellington welcome Hamilton Wanderers to David Farrington Park for a 2pm NZST kick-off.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 2 November 2019
Hawke's Bay United 2 (Gavin HOY 33', Jack PARKER 67')
Auckland City FC 3 (Myer BEVAN 15', 20', 44')
AC: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN (22. Maro BONSU-MARO 80') , 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 20. Logan ROGERSON (11. Keegan LINDERBOOM 85').
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 10. Matthew ELLIS, 23. Callum McNEILL.
COACH: Ivan VICELICH.
Waitakere United 3-1 Wellington Phoenix
Southern United 4-0 Tasman United
Hawke's Bay United 2-3 Auckland City FC
Playing Sunday 3 November 2019
Team Wellington v Hamilton Wanderers
Kick-off: 2pm NZST
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Canterbury United
Kick-off: 4pm NZST (Live on Sky Sport)
ISPS Handa Premiership table here
Sat 23 Nov 2019, KO: 3.00pm, Westpac