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Navy Blues wary of Dragons backlash

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 6 December 2019

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Canterbury United pose a big threat to Auckland City FC's unbeaten start to the season as Lee Padmore's team goes in search of a big result to boost their campaign on Sunday.

The Dragons languish in eighth place with just a solitary win from four games but the statistics suggest Jose Figueira's Navy Blues could be in for a tough afternoon at the parochial envrions of English Park.

Canterbury have scored just six goals this season and conceded a miserly seven, but with talismanic match winner Aaron Clapham back in local colours after a stint with Figueira at Team Wellington, the home side might fancy their chances of an upset.

Figueira is more than aware of the dangers posed by Clapham but points out Canterbury are more than just a one man outfit.

"We're approaching this game very seriously. For Lee (Padmore) and his team they probably don't have the points that have shown against their performances.

"Lee is a new coach trying to implement new ideas and looking at their games they retain core traits of being really organised and disciplined and difficult to play against, especially at home.

AUDIO - Sentimentality pushed to the side - Figueira

"They always have a great support and always do a great job of hosting games.

"We've prepared very strongly for this game this week to be ready for a tough challenge.

"It was great to work with Aaron - he's a fantastic person, he's given a lot to the Canterbury region.

"There were a few things he wasn't happy with behind the scenes last season at Canterbury but I understand that he's delighted to be back there after and happy to be back playing after that horrible injury he picked up in the ISPS Handa Premiership grand final against Eastern Suburbs.

"It's great to see him out there again and he will be a key player and a big weapon for them on Sunday.

"We've factored that into our preparation and he, along with a couple of others in that team, can open up a game in an instant.

"It'll be good to catch up with Aaron before the game but when the action starts it'll be down to business," Figueira told

Figueira faces a familiar but welcome dilemma of who to pick but with Logan Rogerson being wrapped in cotton wool and Dylan Manickum away on OFC Futsal Champions League duty with AFF, there could be opportunities for players to step up.

Clayton Lewis is expected to be available for selection while Albert Riera's return from a longstanding injury appears to be getting closer.

Goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai is expected to begin the long journey from Spain to Auckland on Sunday and will replenish the goalkeeping stocks for the final two matches of the calendar year against Eastern Suburbs and Southern United.

On a big day for Auckland City FC, Figueira also took the opportunity to wish Kris Bright's Junior Navy Blues all the best for their title decider which kicks off at 11am NZST on the same day.

"Kris, his staff and players have done a great job to get themselves back into the title frame and on behalf of everyone at Auckland City FC, I want to pass on our best wishes for their big game," he said.

The first team match kicks off at 2pm NZST at English Park in Christchurch.


Match Details
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 8 December 2019
Canterbury United v Auckland City FC
English Park, Christchurch
Kick-off: 2pm NZST

AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (C), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN, 11. Keegan LINDERBOOM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16.Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. David BROWNE, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK).


Auckland City FC's full travelling squad for the Canterbury United match will be named on Saturday 7 December 2019.

Other matches:

Playing Saturday 7 December 2019
Southern United v Hawke's Bay United
Logan Park, Dunedin - kick-off: 4.00pm NZST

Playing Sunday 8 December 2019

Hamilton Wanderers v Waitakere United
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton - kick-off: 2pm NZST

Tasman United v Wellington Phoenix
Trafalgar Park, Nelson - kick-off: 2pm NZST

Eastern Suburbs AFC v Team Wellington
Madills Farm, Auckland - kick-off: 4pm NZST

Previous meetings:

v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-1 (Dan MORGAN, Javier LOPEZ, Reid DRAKE, Dylan MANICKUM)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 1-0 (Maro BONSU-MARO)

v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 (Callum McCOWATT 2, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-0 (Emiliano TADE 2)

v. Canterbury United (H) drew 0-0
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 2-2 (Emiliano TADE, Alfie ROGERS)

v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-1 (Ryan DE VRIES, Joao MOREIRA, Emiliano TADE, Mikael ALVARO)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-1 (Emiliano TADE, Ryan DE VRIES, Micah LEA'ALAFA)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 2-1 - Semi-final (Ryan DE VRIES 2)

v. Canterbury United (A) won 1-0 (Ryan DE VRIES)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 (Ivan CARRIL, Oscar GARCIA, Joao MOREIRA)

v. Canterbury United (A) drew 0-0
v. Canterbury United (H) drew 1-1 (Adam DICKINSON)

v. Canterbury United (H) won 5-2 (Adam DICKINSON 2, Chris BALE, Albert RIERA, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-1 (Alex FENERIDIS, Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 - Semi-final, 1st Leg (Chris BALE, Manel EXPOSITO)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 - Semi-final, 2nd Leg (Gustavo SOUTO 2, Adam DICKINSON)

v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-0 (Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Manel EXPOSITO, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 1-1 (Angel BERLANGA)

v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 (Stu KELLY, Daniel KOPRIVCIC)
v. Canterbury United (H) lost 0-1

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