Words: ACFC Media
Friday 14 February 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Canterbury United are the latest opponents out to stop the Auckland City FC juggernaut but can the Dragons end a nine year run without a win over the Navy Blues?
Canterbury United come into this match off the back of miserable form having lost their last five matches, their last victory a 2-0 victory over playoff chasing Tasman United prior to Christmas.
The head-to-head record with the Navy Blues makes for even worse reading with Canterbury United now 19 games without a win over Auckland City FC dating back to March 10, 2011, when a Ken Yamamoto goal sealed a 1-0 win at Kiwitea Street, almost nine years ago.
The Lee Padmore-coached side face a frantic run-in with the Dragons looking to avoid for their first wooden spoon finish since 2008-09 when they could muster a mere eight points from their campaign.
Their only other last place finish occurred in 2007-08.
Auckland City FC coach Jose Figueira is under no illusions that Sunday's clash offers up a massive challenge to his undefeated side.
"This will be another massive challenge. Canterbury United have really got nothing to lose and so we did our preparation as normal and we were very thorough with that.
"We won't know until the day what Canterbury United's approach will be but one thing we do know is that they will come out strong.
"They're in a situation that their coach Lee Padmore will want to turn around sooner rather than later and from our perspective we don't want that to be on Sunday," Figueira said.
While the ISPS Handa Premiership campaign continues, Figueira admitted he will keep one eye on what happens in the OFC Champions Group Stage, with New Zealand champions Eastern Suburbs AFC kicking off their campaign in Port Moresby at the weekend.
"Now all the groups are formed we know who our opponents will be but you have to keep an eye on potential opponents in the group and knock out stages.
"We've got to work things step by step but it's always exciting when the OFC Champions League comes around and Eastern Suburbs AFC are in a really strong group.
"We'll keep a close eye on who comes through in Group A and Group B in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
While keeping a campaign running on two seperate fronts is a big challenge for Figueira and his backroom staff, the Auckland City FC coach says the messages have been clear to his entire first team squad as the Canterbury clash looms.
"This is probably the first week we've been at full strength and training this week was fantastic.
"Certainly in the past few weeks the message has been that while we want to build on our momentum we also want to be sure, where possible, that we can top up players with minutes and keep everyone in the picture.
"With the heavy schedule thats coming up we might be needing some or one or two or more of these players at any given moment.
"There's a couple of players who are on the verge of a suspension with yellow cards but that's something we'll deal with if and when it happens," he said.
The game takes place on Sunday 16 February, 2020, at Kiwitea Street and kicks off at 2.00pm NZST.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 16 February, 2020
Auckland City FC v Canterbury United
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 2.00pm NZST
AC (squad from): 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.
Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 20. Logan ROGERSON, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 22. Clayton LEWIS, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 15 February, 2020
Southern United v Waitakere United
Logan Park, Dunedin - kick-off: 4.00pm
Wellington Phoenix v Hamilton Wanderers
Eden Park, Auckland - kick-off: 4.00pm
OFC Champions League - Group A
Sunday 16 February, 2020
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Hekari United
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - kick-off: 3.00pm Local
ABM Galaxy v Hienghene Sport
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - kick-off: 12.00pm Local
OFC Champions League - Group B
Saturday 15 February, 2020
Lae City v Henderson Eels
Luganville, Vanuatu - kick-off: 11.00am local
Lautoka v Malampa Revivors
Luganville, Vanuatu - kick-off: 3.00pm local
v. Canterbury United (A) won 1-0 (Maro BONSU-MARO)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-1 (Dan MORGAN, Javier LOPEZ, Reid DRAKE, Dylan AMNICKUM)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-0 (Emiliano TADE 2)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 (Callum McCOWATT 2, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (H) drew 0-0
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 2-2 (Emiliano TADE, Alfie ROGERS)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 2-1 (Ryan DE VRIES 2) - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi Finalv
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-1 (Emiliano TADE, Ryan DE VRIES, Micah LEA'ALAFA)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-1 (Ryan DE VRIES< Joao MOREIRA, Mikael ALVARO, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 (Ivan CARRIL, Oscar GARCIA, Joao MOREIRA)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 1-0 (Ryan DE VRIES)
v. Canterbury United (H) drew 1-1 (Adam DICKINSON)
v. Canterbury Untied (A) drew 0-0
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 (Chris BALE, Manel EXPOSITO) - ISPS Hand Premiership Semi Final, 2nd Leg
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-1 (Gustavo SOUTO 2, Adam DICKINSON) - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi Final, 1st Leg
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-1 (Alex FENERIDIS, Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 5-2 (Adam DICKINSON 2, Chris BALE, Albert RIERA, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 1-1 (Angel BERLANGA)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-0 (Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Manel EXPOSITO, Emiliano TADE)
v. Canterbury United (H) lost 0-1
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 (Stu KELLY, Daniel KOPRIVCIC)
v. Canterbury United (H) lost 0-3 - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi Final, 2nd Leg
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 (Jason HAYNE, Daniel KOPRIVCIC) - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi Final, 1st Leg
v. Canterbury United (H) drew 1-1 (Ki-Hyung LEE)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-1 (Jason HAYNE, Daniel KOPRIVCIC, Matt WILLIAMS)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 5-0 (Jonathan RAJ, Grant YOUNG 3, Milos NIKOLIC)
v. Canterbury United (A) lost 1-2 (Keryn JORDAN)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-1 (Riki VAN STEEDEN, George SURI, Paul URLOVIC 2)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 2-1 (Ki-Hyung LEE, Alex FENERIDIS)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-0 (Bryan LITTLE, GRant YOUNG 2)
v. Canterbury United (H) lost 0-3
v. Canterbury United (H) won 2-0 (Paul URLOVIC, Grant YOUNG)
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 1-1 (Dean GORDON)
v. Canterbury United (H) drew 3-3 (Grant YOUNG, Keryn JORDAN, Chad COOMBES) - ISPS Handa Premiership Final
v. Canterbury United (H) won 3-0 (Keryn JORDAN, Liam MULROONEY, Grant YOUNG) - ISPS Handa Premiership Playoff
v. Canterbury United (A) lost 1-2 (Paul URLOVIC)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 4-3 (Jonathan SMITH, Paul URLOVIC, Chad COOMBES, Keryn JORDAN)
v. Canterbury United (H) lost 2-3 (Grant YOUNG, Paul URLOVIC)
v. Canterbury United (A) won 3-0 (Paul URLOVIC 2, Paul SEAMAN)
v. Canterbury United (A) drew 1-1 (Grant YOUNG)
v. Canterbury United (H) won 5-0 (Paul URLOVIC, Grant YOUNG 3, Neil SYKES)
v Western Springs, Sat 25 March 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST