Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 5 March 2020
Picture: OFC Media
PAPEETE, Tahiti - Auckland City FC have notched a bruising 1-0 win over AS Venus in their latest OFC Champions League Group D outing.
A Myer Bevan goal just before halftime got the Navy Blues over the line and left the Tahitians needing a win in their final match against Ba to qualify for the last eight.
Coach Jose Figueira was a happy man at the final whistle.
"Two games and two wins the best outcome we can have so I'm very happy with that. We now have one small small step to secure a home quarter-final but we knew tonight was would be a massive challenge.
"I was very happy with the way our team played the first half and in the second I think they showed massive personality and big heart against a well-coached team which you need if you want to go far in this competition.
"The dream is to win every game but we said Lupe Ole Soaga have come up with a surprise result so we want to make sure there are no nasty surprises at the end," he told TNTV.
AS Venus came into the match off the back of a 6-0 thrashing of Samoan outfit Lupe Ole Soaga and with a prime opportunity to stake a claim for a home quarter-final.
The home side made life tough for the Navy Blues on a Stade Mahina pitch that that looked smaller than Kiwitea Street and enabled goalkeeper Teave Teamotuaitau to threaten the penalty box with long clearances.
Inevitably the match became both frantic and frenetic as well as physical as AS Venus tried to throw the Navy Blues off with a raft of heavy challenges that often stepped over the mark.
Despite the heavy approach it was the visitors who opened the scoring when Myer Bevan scored just minutes before halftime.
It was welcome relief for Jose Figueira's team who then withstood a physical onslaught in the second half with Clayton Lewis drawing most of the attention from the home side.
The match became a stop-start affair with referee David Yaraboinen taking centre stage until the final ten minutes when AS Venus threw everything they had at the Navy Blues defence.
Amid the mayhem, Yaraboinen missed a clear red card for Teamotuaitau when the AS Venus goalkeeper raced out of his penalty area only to clearly slap a Logan Rogerson lob away from goal.
Teamotuaitau was in the thick of the action again when he saved the resulting Bevan free-kick and watched the deflection trickle past his right-hand upright with just seconds remaining.
The win means Auckland City FC can top the group with any positive result in Sunday's clash with Lupe Ole Soaga who downed Fijian giants Ba by 4-3. A victory will see the Navy Blues claim a home quarter-final on Sunday 5 April, 2020, venue to be confirmed.
The Lupe Ole Soaga clash is on Sunday 8 March, 2020, at Stade Mahina at 4.00pm NZST.
OFC Champions League - Group D
Thursday 5 March, 2020
AS Venus 0
Auckland City FC 1 (Myer BEVAN 42')
AC: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Myer BEVAN, 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE (20. Logan ROGERSON 73'), 14. Jordan VALE, 22. Clayton LEWIS (8. Albert RIERA 74').
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
YELLOW CARDS: 22. Clayton LEWIS, 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE, 9. Myer BEVAN.
Thursday 5 March, 2020
Lupe Ole Soaga 4-3 Ba
Sunday 1 October 2023, 3pm, Kiwitea Street, Auckland