Words: Nick Brown
Sunday 18 October 2020
MANGERE, Auckland - Auckland City FC start their pre-season build-up with a comfortable 2-0 away win over Lotto NRFL side Manukau United at Centre Park in Mangere today.
Goals each for Jordan Vale and Abdul Bassit Khalifa supplied their winning margin as Jose Figueira experimented with a team containing vast experience and a smattering of youth.
The Navy Blues nearly took the lead when Adam Mitchell saw his header saved but the hosts grew in stature with George Konusi, Tinashe Marowa and Kofi Dwamena giving Figueira's side plenty to think about on the counter attack.
Dwamena thought he had opened the scoring when he put the ball beyond Cameron Brown midway through the first half only for the flag to go up for offside.
He continued to cause problems for the Navy Blues for the rest of the half but Manukau United failed to capitalise on any of the chances on offer as the teams went into the break goalless.
Figueira rang the changes in a predictable rotation of his bench handing a first team debut to 15-year-old Addison Stewart while Ilham Hameedi, Aiden Carey, Regan Diver and Josh Jones were also included.
Abdul Khalifa - who played the first half in Manukau United colours - donned Navy Blue for the second while New Zealand Football's Futsal Player of the Year, Dylan Manickum also made an appearance.
And it was Manickum who nearly broke the deadlock with a golden chance coming his way ten minutes after the restart.
The substitutions started to bear fruit with Auckland City FC demonstrating more creativity and it seemed inevitable they would take the lead.
The opening goal arrived when Jordan Vale's effort went in with the assistance of the Manukau United upright and the lead doubled when Khalifa netted with five minutes to go.
"Perfect hit out for us. We're very thankful to Manukau United for organising the game very early in preseason.
"We're managing some of our players back towards full training so it was nice to see younger players who have been around the fringes put in some solid performances.
"Aiden Carye captained our youth team last season, Ilham and Addision have been around our youth ranks and its great to see them step up and after a few minutes they looked comfortable out there.
"It's a good thing to have these boys on the fringes in our squad and they brought about a lot of freshness and energy about the place.
"It's good to be back together and back out there on the pitch and we're looking forward to a full week's training next week," he said.
Sunday 18 October 2020
Centre Park, Mangere
Manukau United 0
Auckland City FC 2 (Jordan VALE 72', Abdul Bassit KHALIFA 85')
AC: 24. Cameron BROWN (GK); 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Brian KALTAK, 8. Albert RIERA, 11. Tom DOYLE, 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 19. Ilham HAMEEDI, 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS: 6. Mario BILEN, 9. Abdul Bassit KHALIFA, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 12. Josh JONES, 15. Aiden CAREY, 18. Regan DIVER (GK), 22. Addison STEWART.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Sun 29 Nov 2020, Kiwitea Street, Kick-off: 2pm