Words: ACFC Media
Friday 28 October 2016
Competitive, quick and packed with experience - thats how Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx describes Stirling Sports Premiership newcomers Tasman United.
Tasman United grabbed a 2-2 draw with Canterbury United in their first match in the top flight a result that may well have been a win had they converted their chances.
Tribulietx has watched footage of the game and warns the Navy Blues have a tough assignment when United make their first visit ever to Kiwitea Street on Saturday.
"Tasman United is a brand new team and what I've seen of them they're not bad at all.
"They've got some very good players like Paul Ifill who has great experience in the game, Cam Lindsay is a very good midfielder, as is Dylan Burns who spent time with us in pre-season.
"Tasman United have good ability all round and up front they have Ermal Hajdari who is very quick and is very good on the ball.
"They look like a team who competed very well against Canterbury United and I'm sure they'll set up a very difficult encounter for us," he said.
Auckland City FC made a stuttering start to the campaign after a bruising 1-0 defeat to local rivals Waitakere United but Tribulietx said some honest hard work on the training pitch has sparked a recovery that he wants to continue.
"Unfortunately, our first game didn't have the outcome we all wanted (1-0 loss to Waitakere United) but on the other hand sometimes its good to have these games because they make you better.
"Last week was a difficult week, we worked very hard and mentally it was very taxing for us because we understood we had to improve in a few areas of our game.
"Now its a matter of making sure we continue this kind of delivery on the pitch when we face Tasman," he said.
Aiding Auckland City FC's hopes are the return of All Whites midfielder Clayton Lewis who spent two weeks with Burton Albion in England following the recent FIFA window.
With Takuya Iwata working his way back to full fitness there is a sense that the Oceania champions may just be starting to gain momentum.
But Tribulietx warns that with standards rising across the league, no team can afford to be complacent in what could be the tightest title race in years.
"We need to make sure we understand every game in the Stirling Sports Premiership is going to be very difficult.
"Last season there were five or six teams who could beat you and its the same now. Waitakere United took points off us, Team Wellington is a very good side, Canterbury United and Hawke's Bay United are strong.
"Brett Angell has done a very good job tactically and does well to rebuild his squad each year to remain competitive.
"Eastern Suburbs are a good club and are going to be very competitive. Its great for the league and everyone in football benefits from a competitive top level Premiership," he said.
The last time a team from Nelson visited Kiwitea Street in a top flight domestic clash was 16 years ago when Central United drew 2-2 with Nelson Suburbs.
Matt Fowler and Daniel Koprivcic were on target for the home side while Solomon Islands international Commins Menapi and Toby Kroon scored early to give the visitors an early two goal lead.
Saturday 29 October, 2016
Auckland City FC v Tasman United
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 2pm NZST
AC (from): Enaut Zubikarai (GK), Takuya Iwata, Mario Bilen, Angela Berlanga, Harry Edge, Reid Drake, Darren White, Ryan De Vries, Te Atatwhai Hudson-Wihongi, Nicolai Berry, Albert Riera, Dae Wook Kim, Emiliano Tade, Joao Moreira, Alfie Rogers, Yousif Ali Al-Khalisy, Micah Lea'alafa, Marko Dordevic, Danyon Drake (GK), Jacob Spoonley (GK), Fabrizio Tavano, Clayton Lewis.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium