Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 23 November 2019
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Auckland City FC stayed top of the ISPS Handa Premiership after a routine 3-0 away win over the Wellington Phoenix.
The Navy Blues started the match as red-hot favourites to win this game on a day where skipper Angel Berlanga equalled the club record for most appearances of 203 games, level with former All White defender James Pritchett.
The feel-good factor continued when the Navy Blues were awarded a penalty kick after just 15 minutes only for Logan Rogerson to sky his effort over Zac Jones crossbar.
The visitors should've had a second spot kick after Adam Mitchell was bundled over in the box only for referee Ben O'Connell to play it safe.
There was no escaping another penalty when just before halftime Jones crashed into Myer Bevan which O'Connell gave without hesitation.
Bevan - Auckland City FC's regular penalty taker - made no mistake with a perfect strike to hand the Navy Blues a deserved but slender advantage and pocket his seventh goal in just four games.
The Wellington Phoenix gave Jose Figueira's team a couple of anxious moments including a delicate cross by Henry Hamilton that bent towards the far post that was cleared by Berlanga.
The Navy Blues domination of the ball continued in the second spell but a wastefulness in front of goal and good goalkeeping by Jones conspired to keep the visitors goalless.
With the game headed into it's final phase, Figueira threw on Dylan Manickum for David Browne and the move paid immediate dividends after the New Zealand Futsal international tapped home from a Rogerson pass to double the lead.
Manickum was integral in the Navy Blues third goal when he teed up a beautiful opportunity for Jordan Vale who lashed home a powerful shot from the edge of the box that gave Jones no hope.
Skipper Berlanga was delighted with the final result that keeps the Navy Blues in front of the chasing pack.
"You have to be happy with a win like this because we are playing well but when you have chances you can regret it if you don't put them away.
"The players come on from the bench gave something to the team and were really helpful for the squad.
"I think week by week we are improving a bit and we are playing a bit better and we're growing as a team," he told Sky Sport's Heremaia Ngata.
Auckland City FC take on Tasman United in the ISPS Handa Premiership at Kiwitea Street in their next match on 1 December 2019.
The game is live on Sky Sport and kicks off at 4pm NZST.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 23 November 2019
Wellington Phoenix 0
Auckland City FC 3 (Myer BEVAN 43'-pen, Dylan MANICKUM 82', Jordan VALE 88')
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (16. Yousif ALI 85'), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN (21. Maro BONSU-MARO 85'), 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. David BROWNE, 20. Logan ROGERSON.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 6. Brian KALTAK.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium