Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 10 November 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC and Team Wellington renewed their rivalry as the pair shared four goals in an intense 2-2 draw in the ISPS Handa Premiership at Kiwitea Street today.
Coach Jose Figueira was back in control after a relatively successful FIFA U-17 World Cup with New Zealand and he would've been happy at the start his team made when Myer Bevan scored from the penalty spot after 24 minutes.
Despite going ahead the Navy Blues had a disjointed start to the match as new-look Team Wellington dominated the ball and they were rewarded for their labours when new signing Ollie Bassett scored with a clever finish just before halftime.
The visitors then nosed in front when Hamish Watson beat Conor Tracey - a replacement for Enaut Zubikarai who has returned to Spain for personal reasons - from the penalty spot only three minutes after the restart.
AUDIO - "We created heaps of chances" - Figueira
Unsurprisingly the match became fractious with Brian Kaltak, Mario Ilich, Cam Howieson going into referee Cory Mills book while Ollie Whyte, Mario Barcia, Andy Bevin and Henry Cameron attracted similar attention for Scott Hales' side.
Chasing the game triggered Auckland City FC's best football of the game in the closing stages and when the equaliser came from Logan Rogerson it was no less than Figueira's side deserved.
Rogerson's first goal in Navy Blues colours won't be one Scott Basalaj or his team-mates will want to see again as the All Whites cap bundled the ball over the line after a messy lead in.
Figueira was satisfied with the point and was correct when
"It was a classic early in the season game. Both teams had periods where they had the upper hand. It took us a little bit too long to get going and connecting but once we got that goal and some momentum we were dominating.
"To concede that goal just after the restart stopped us in our tracks. But for 20-25 minutes we were very good and we finished very strong and looked together and connected and created a heap of chances so it was positive on that front," he said.
AUDIO - Jose Figueira #NavyBlues coach Jose Figueira looks back on today’s 2-2 draw with Team Wellington.— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 10, 2019
https://t.co/HqDR71r7qH (Report) pic.twitter.com/V8vpfpb4MQ
On the controversial moment that led to Auckland City FC's penalty, Figueira suggested that if there were an injustice for the visitors then it was levelled out when Watson scored in the second half.
"I couldn't see the incident from my angle but the new law around the handball in the box means any type of movement or hands away from the body and you're walking the line.
"I didn't have the clearest of angles to see it clearly but these thing get awarded and Team Wellington got a penalty in the second half," he said.
While the physical nature of the game meant eight yellow cards, Figueira said the intensity of feeling was no surprise to him.
He was also pleased to see Bevan and Rogerson on the scoresheet.
"It was certainly physical and intense between two teams that want to play that way and there was the odd tackle that was overly physical but not too dangerous to speak about.
"I'm happy we finished extremely strongly this early on in the season bodes well.
"Logan and Myer work tirelessly without the ball and they're bedding themselves in. They're strikers and we want to see them both hitting the back of the net," he said.
In other action, Hamilton Wanderers caused an upset after they thrashed defending champions Eastern Suburbs AFC 3-0. Canterbury United earned their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over highly fancied Southern United.
Tasman United sank to bottom of the league after they lost 2-0 at home to Waitakere United who top the ISPS Handa Premiership for the first time since 2012-13 season. In Wellington, Hawke's Bay United scored a dramatic 4-3 win over Wellington Phoenix.
Auckland City FC's next match is on Saturday 16 November when they take on Hamilton Wanderers at John Kerkof Park in Cambridge. The game is set for a 2pm NZST start.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 10 November 2019
Auckland City FC 2 (Myer BEVAN 24'-pen, Logan ROGERSON 79')
Team Wellington 2 (Oliver BASSETT 39', Hamish WATSON 48'-pen)
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 9. Myer BEVAN (21. Maro BONSU-MARO 85'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM (19. David BROWNE 68'), 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 20. Logan ROGERSON.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cameron BROWN (GK), 5. Angel BERLANGA, 16. Yousif ALI.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium