Words: ACFC Media
Friday 29 November 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC boss Jose Figueira will leave finalising his team selection to the very last minute as a hungry Tasman United prowl Kiwitea Street desperate to build on their win over Team Wellington last week.
Tasman United come into Sunday's televised fixture off a morale boosting 1-0 win over the former Oceania champions but they have yet to score a goal from open play in 360 minutes of football, their winning goal coming from a penalty converted by New Caledonian international striker Jean Phillipe Saiko.
The southerners can point to a previous win over Auckland City FC on 17 December 2017 but can thanks an administrative oversight on the part of the Kiwitea Street club
for the points despite losing the match itself 3-1.
Tasman's form over a longer stretch will be of concern to their coach Jess Ibrom with United registering only three wins from their last 17 matches.
By contrast the Navy Blues come into this match in a rich vein of form.
Three wins and a draw from their first four games puts Jose Figueira's team in top spot and with striker Myer Bevan pillaging defences up and down the country with
seven goals to his name already.
AUDIO - Plenty to ponder for Jose Figueira
Figueira welcomes back Clayton Lewis' availability but said he's got a lot to think about in terms of team selection against an opponent that has given him plenty to ponder.
"I've told the boys that it's another game that presents a different type of challenge and the way things have worked out in the last couple of weeks we're facing another team that's coming here off the back of an impressive result.
"Tasman got the win last week in what was the result of the round (beating Team Wellington 1-0). They'll come here full of confidence and been performing well without getting the results or points they've wanted this season.
"Now they've had a taste of turning over a big side they'll want to repeat that on Sunday," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
"We've watched all their games so far and they've put in some eye catching performances and they're quick and dangerous going forward in the transition and they've got players that can open up a game at any moment.
"It hasn't quite fallen for them in open play but I'm sure they'll want to rectify that.
"I haven't made my mind up 100 percent on how the team will line up but we've got one or two niggles and that was the idea behind resting Clayton Lewis last week which was part of the hangover from the Olymic qualifiers but he's been cleared for this week.
"Logan Rogerson has got a slight irritation in his knee so we'll see how that settles down over the next couple of days but each week we've chopped anc changed a little bit with players rotating in and out.
"Our young players who haven't broken into the squad just yet have trained really well as an extra back up.
"I'm in a good position where I can wait until the last moment to decide what we'll be doing," he said.
Also of note is the possibility of skipper Angel Berlanga breaking the club's record for most appearances.
The 31-year-old Spanish defender equalled the record set by former All Whites defender James Pritchett of 203 matches in last week's 3-0 victory over the Wellington Phoenix.
Berlanga, who made his debut for the club on October 15, 2010, in a 3-2 away win at Waikato FC is in his tenth season with the club and a 204th appearance will ensure his place in the club's history.
The ISPS Handa Premiership match kicks off at 4pm NZST on Sunday 1 December 2019.
In the National Youth League, the Junior Navy Blues take on Tasman United needing to finish their home campaign with maximum points to put pressure on league leaders Waitakere United and fellow title chasers Hamilton Wanderers.
That match was originally scheduled for the Croatian Club but has been switched to Kiwitea Street for Saturday 30 November 2019 at 12pm NZST.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 1 December 2019
Auckland City FC v Tasman United
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 4.00pm NZST
Live on Sky Sport
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Albert RIERA, 9. Myer BEVAN,
10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Keegan LINDERBOOM, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. David BROWNE, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 22.
Clayton LEWIS, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Auckland City FC's full squads for the Tasman United match will be named on Saturday 30 November 2019.
Saturday 30 November 2019
Waitakere United v Southern United
Seddon Fields, Auckland - kick-off: 3pm NZST
Sunday 1 December 2019
Hawke's Bay United v Eastern Suburbs AFC
Bluewater Stadium, Napier - kick-off: 2pm NZST
Hamilton Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton - kick-off: 2pm NZST
Team Wellington v Canterbury United
David Farrington Park, Wellington - kick-off: 2pm NZST
v. Tasman United (H) won 3-1 (Javier LOPEZ 2, David BROWNE)
v. Tasman United (A) won 3-1 (David BROWNE 2, Javier LOPEZ)
v. Tasman United (A) won 1-0 (Callum McCOWATT)
v. Tasman United (H) won 3-1* (Darren WHITE, Ryan DE VRIES 2)
v. Tasman United (A) drew 1-1 (Own Goal)
v. Tasman United (H) won 4-0 (Emiliano TADE, Ryan DE VRIES, Darren WHITE, Joao MOREIRA)
*Auckland City FC fielded an ineligible player and the match was awarded to Tasman United 3-0.