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Figueira excited for first Gridlock Derby

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 13 December 2019

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC have a full strength squad to pick from as New Zealand champions Eastern Suburbs AFC chase their first ever Gridlock Derby win at Kiwitea Street tomorrow.

The Lilywhites have played the Navy Blues seven times previously and lost on every single occasion including one thumping 4-0 defeat in the semi-finals two seasons ago.

Coach Tony Readings' makeshift squad has struggled in recent weeks with back-to-back defeats to both Hawke's Bay United and Team Wellington but will pose a major threat in the rarefied air of an Auckland derby.

Personnel considerations aside, Figueira is excited by the prospect of the eighth Gridlock Derby, his first as first team coach.

"This game will be a great challenge and an exciting game. We identified the last three games of the year as really important games - with the first of those navigated in Christchurch last week, Saturday is another big challenge for us against Eastern Suburbs.

"They've undergone a lot of changes but they're starting to find their feet with Tony in charge so we're expecting a really tough game on Saturday," he told

AUDIO - Figueira excited for first Gridlock Derby

Boosting Jose Figueira's ranks are the return of goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai and the possibility of also choosing Logan Rogerson.

Zubikarai returned to Spain following a family matter while Rogerson has been carefully monitored after a niggling knee injury but the Navy Blues coach will leave any major decision on selection to the last possible moment.

For Zubikarai the return to action could be delayed with the 35-year-old former La Liga regular rebuilding his fitness after a short break and return trip from Europe.

"It's great to have Enaut back, he's not only a quality goalkeeper, he's an experienced player and great personality in our group and it's like he never left.

"Everyone's certainly welcomed him back after a difficult couple of weeks for him personally.

"It's great to see him back home with his other family here at Kiwitea Street and back in our group with a smile on his face and things are ticking along quite nicely for him.

"Logan trained really well this week. Last week, we erred on the side of caution around his selection for Canterbury United with the nature of an early start, travel, an artificial surface and the extra week to let his knee settle down has been useful.

"He's come through the week so far, so good. I'm able to leave the squad to be named the day before to keep players on their toes but he's back in contention to be part of things on Saturday," he said.

The match kicks off at 4.30pm NZST on Saturday 14 December 2019.

The game is live on Sky Sport.


Match Details
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 14 December 2019
Auckland City FC v Eastern Suburbs AFC
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 4.30pm NZST
Live on Sky Sport

AC: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (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, 16.Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 19. David BROWNE, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK).


Auckland City FC's full squad for the Eastern Suburbs AFC match will be named tonight.



Saturday 14 December 2019
Wellington Phoenix v Canterbury United
Trusts Stadium, Porirua - kick-off: 1.00pm NZST

Sunday 15 December 2019
Hawke's Bay United v Waitakere United
Bluewater Stadium, Napier - kick-off: 2.00pm NZST

Tasman United v Hamilton Wanderers
Trafalgar Park, Nelson - kick-off: 2.00pm NZST

Team Wellington v Southern United
David Farrington Park, Wellington - kick-off 2.00pm NZST


v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 3-2 (Micah LEA'ALAFA 2, Brian KALTAK)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 1-0 (Dylan MANICKUM)

v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 4-0 Semi-final (Emiliano TADE 2, Callum McCOWATT, Dalton WILKINS)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 1-0 (Callum McCOWATT)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 2-0 (Emiliano TADE, Micah LEA'ALAFA)

v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 2-1 (Joao MOREIRA, Emiliano TADE)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 1-0 (Emiliano TADE)

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