Words: ACFC Media
Friday 20 December 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC's hopes of finishing the end of the calendar year on top of the ISPS Handa Premiership go on the line when they face Southern United in Dunedin tomorrow.
The Navy Blues dropped two points in last week's thrilling goalless draw with Eastern Suburbs AFC at Kiwitea Street, a result that allowed Team Wellington to close within three points of Jose Figueira's side after a 6-1 thrashing of Southern United.
Auckland City FC start as heavy favourites in this fixture with the Kiwitea Street side having only ever lost twice to their opponents and with both those games nearly 15 years ago.
A run of 30 matches without a loss is an impressive sequence of results but the fixture has got decidedly tighter in recent seasons with Paul O'Reilly's men picking up three draws out of the last four encounters.
Figueira is under no illusions of how difficult Southern United will be after their thrashing by Team Wellington.
AUDIO - Rogerson comeback continues
"Southern United will provide us with another tricky challenge - playing away from home always provides it's own challenges and it's going to be a long day with a late kick-off - but it's a challenge which we've planned for.
"Southern have been a bit up and down in terms of their results. They're a group that have retained their coach and the majority of their squad and key players from last season and added real quality in players like Joel Stevens.
"They're coming into this game off a big defeat to Team Wellington so they'll want to bounce back with a big performance at home.
"I'm expecting a tough test. We've been working hard all week and focused on the work-ons from last week's result against Eastern Suburbs. We're looking forward to getting back on the pitch and continuing our good run of form and results," he said.
One player all eyes will be focused on is New Zealand international Logan Rogerson. Rogerson made a brief cameo in the goalless draw with Eastern Suburbs and there is a reasonable chance he may play a significant part in the Dunedin match - but Figueira will take his time before confirming a start for the U-23 international skipper.
"It was great to get Logan some minutes off the bench in last week's game against Eastern Suburbs.
"We've been managing his knee irritation over the last couple of weeks and he's in a good place right now after a strong week of training backed up by the confidence of getting minutes in an intense game in which he made a massive difference for us off the bench.
"Logan is travelling with us and part of the squad. Closer to game day we'll be making decisions about whether that's from the start or coming on from the bench," he said.
The match kicks off at 4.00pm NZST at Logan Park in Dunedin.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 21 December 2019
Southern United v Auckland City FC
Logan Park, Dunedin
Kick-off: 4.00pm NZST
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cameron HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. David BROWNE, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Clayton LEWIS, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK).
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
v. Southern United (H) won 2-1 (Own Goal, Fabrizio TAVANO)
v. Southern United (A) drew 1-1 (Javier LOPEZ)
v. Southern United (A) drew 2-2 (Ryan DE VRIES, Emiliano TADE)
v. Southern United (H) drew 1-1 (Micah LEA'ALAFA)
v. Southern United (A) won 1-0 (Own Goal)
v. Southern United (H) won 3-1 (Cam HOWIESON, Clayton LEWIS, Emiliano TADE)
v. Southern United (H) won 3-1 (Emiliano TADE 2, Clayton LEWIS)
v. Southern United (A) won 4-0 (Joao MOREIRA 2, Ryan DE VRIES, Andrew MILNE)
v. Southern United (A) won 3-0 (Tim PAYNE, Ivan VICELICH, Emiliano TADE)
v. Southern United (H) won 4-2 (Own Goal, David BROWNE 2, Marko DORDEVIC)
v. Southern United (H) won 3-0 (Alex FENERIDIS, Darren WHITE, Sam BURFOOT)
v. Southern United (A) won 10-0 (Emiliano TADE 2, Darren WHITE 2, Andrew MILNE, Takuya IWATA, Ryan DE VRIES, Adam DICKINSON, Chris BALE, Joao MOREIRA)
v. Otago United (A) won 3-1 (Luis CORRALES 2, Alex FENERIDIS)
v. Otago United (H) won 3-1 (Andrew MILNE, Manel EXPOSITO, Adam DICKINSON)
v. Otago United (H) won 3-0 (Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Emiliano TADE, Andrew MILNE)
v. Otago United (A) won 3-1 (Luis CORRALES, Manel EXPOSITO, Angel BERLANGA)
v. Otago United (H) drew 0-0
v. Otago United (A) won 3-0 (Stu KELLY, David MULLIGAN 2)
v. Otago United (A) drew 0-0
v. Otago United (H) won 5-0 (Matt WILLIAMS, Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Grant YOUNG, Paul URLOVIC, Ivan VICELICH)
v. Otago United (H) won 2-0 (Matt FRIEL, Keryn JORDAN)
v. Otago United (A) won 1-0 (Keryn JORDAN)
v. Otago United (A) won 2-0 (Paul URLOVIC, Bryan LITTLE)
v. Otago United (H) won 3-0 (Salesh KUMAR< Grant YOUNG, Chad COOMBES)
v. Otago United (H) won 2-0 (Bryan LITTLE, Jakub SINKORA)
v. Otago United (H) drew 2-2 (Ross McKENZIE, Paul SEAMAN)
v. Otago United (A) won 5-1 (Paul SEAMAN, Keryn JORDAN 3, Neil SYKES)
v. Otago United (A) won 2-1 (James PRITCHETT, Keryn JORDAN)
v. Otago United (A) won 3-2 (Keryn JORDAN, Paul SEAMAN, Grant YOUNG)
v. Otago United (H) won 4-1 (Grant YOUNG, Keryn JORDAN 3)
v. Otago United (H) lost 0-1
v. Otago United (H) lost 0-1
v. Otago United (A) won 3-0 (Paul VODANOVICH, Neil SYKES, Paul URLOVIC)
v. Otago United (A) won 3-2 (Grant YOUNG, Jonathan SMITH, Paul URLOVIC)
Sun 29 Nov 2020, Kiwitea Street, Kick-off: 2pm