Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 16 February 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Jose Figueira was a happy man after his team stretched it's unbeaten run in the ISPS Handa Premiership regular season to 49 games.
The Navy Blues blew holes in a weak Canterbury United performance to run out 5-1 winners in their latest domestic match and have not lost a game in just over 27 months.
A goalless second half for the home side saw Aaron Clapham nick a top quality consolation goal that took some of the wind out of the sails on an otherwise positive day for the Kiwitea Street side.
Figueira's team take on Tasman United at Trafalgar Park in Nelson next Sunday and could bring up a half-century of unbeaten regular season games if they can come away with at least a point.
Despite the looming milestone, Figueira said building momentum towards the OFC Champions League was more criticial on a day where top quality goals flew in from all angles.
"What you saw was that we were clinical in front of goal in the first half and established a deserved lead.
"We had a 5-0 lead and had a high controlled performance in the second half where we could manage the game. As soon as we start adding that to our game we can really put the opposition on the back foot.
VIDEO - Myer Bevan makes it 3-0
32' | 3-0— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) February 16, 2020
VIDEO - Myer Bevan makes it 3-0 to the #NavyBlues #ACvCU #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues pic.twitter.com/zWnGYwF8Ga
"In the second half, whether the level drops, whether we have a lot more possession or we can conserve our energy and pick and choose our moments, the attitude and precision was nevertheless very very good. Importantly, we controlled the tempo, bar another world class goal," he said.
Figueira threw on Albert Riera, Logan Rogerson and Clayton Lewis in a strong demonstration of the quality at his disposal with the likes of Andrew Blake, Yousif Al-Kalisy, Maro Bonsu-Maro and Mario Bilen not making the match day squad.
"We scored some well constructed goals with both our wing backs on the score sheet which says a lot about how we played.
"The guys who came off the bench maintained the quality and standards and I'm really pleased and it was a great day at the office and we've cemented our position at the top even further.
"It's important we finish on a high before we go away and today was one step towards that. We want to make sure we take this performance and level and momentum into the OFC Champions League and that continues against Tasman United next week," he said.
FULL TIME - The #NavyBlues defeat @CanterburyUtd by 5 goals to 1 at Kiwitea Street this afternoon. #ACvCU #ISPSHandaPrem #NavyBlues pic.twitter.com/V7wSTaKOEH— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) February 16, 2020
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 16 February, 2020
Auckland City FC 5 (Emiliano TADE 7', Brian KALTAK 14', Myer BEVAN 32', Jordan VALE 35', Alfie ROGERS 43')
Canterbury United 1 (Aaron CLAPHAM 78')
AC: 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 2. Mario LICH, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (8. Albert RIERA 46'), 9. Myer BEVAN (20. Logan ROGERSON 58'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE (22. Clayton LEWIS 67'), 14. Jordan VALE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
v Bay Olympic, Sat 1 April 2023, Kiwitea Street, KO: 3pm NZST