Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 1 November 2020
Picture: Grant Stantiall
HAMILTON, New Zealand - The sting of today's 2-1 defeat to Hamilton Wanderers is a sharp reminder there is room for improvement according to Navy Blues coach Jose Figueira.
Wanderers scored in a goal in each half to produce their first ever win of any kind over Auckland City FC but Figueira says his side will use the lessons of the day to improve ahead of November 15 and the club's opening ISPS Handa Men's Premiership clash.
"It was a really good hit out and its good to get a competitive fixture and see some of the things we need to work on and areas we need to keep pushing hard and refining against a solid and competitive opponent.
"In the first half we were okay but we were a bit passive with the ball and not progressing it the way we should be through the lines.
"In the second half I thought we improved and scored an early goal, a great goal from a great move and we then showed a few things about how we want to be and we were on the front foot," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
But with Auckland City FC in the ascendancy the game went pear-shaped when Logan Rogerson was sent off midway through the second half.
Figueira was disappointed by the disruption to his side but used the opportunity to test the mettle of his team while down a player.
AUDIO - Jose Figueira post-match remarks
"The red card and going down to ten men with it being a friendly there's some discussion about whether we keep the eleven on but its a good exercise to practice a man down and I thought we were very good.
"We controlled things and played in their half and created some good opportunities but with a man down we gave away a sloppy ball and they punished us with a good finish.
"We have a lot to be happy with but also a good reminder for us that in a proper competitive game there's a lot for us to work on as well," he added.
The Auckland City FC coach also used the match as an opportunity to give Ilham Hameedi a run as well as trialist Kishan Sami.
GOAL!!! Logan Rogerson equalises for Auckland City FC
"Ilham came on when we were down to ten men which is always difficult but he showed great confidence to put his body in the way to receive and run in behind.
"He made some good connections and helped create some really good opportunities and its good to know we've got some good depth there which adds a lot to the squad," he said.
The major talking point of the day was the sickening head clash involving debutant Mohamed Awad. the former Melbourne Knights player made a sharp run into the Wanderers penalty area but then collided with an opponent that rendered both helpless on the pitch.
Awad is currently undergoing observation as head injury protocols are implemented.
"Mohamed's first action was a great run but he's had a head clash in the air which I think put him out as he was falling which he can't remember so we put the welfare of the player first.
"He'll stay here in Hamilton and visit the hospital and make sure he's alright and gets cleared and checked off and make sure we do all those things properly," Figueira said.
Sunday 1 November 2020
Hamilton Wanderers 2 (Owen COMBER 37', Xavier PRATT 86')
Auckland City FC 1 (Logan ROGERSON 52')
AC: 24. Cameron BROWN (GK) (Conor TRACEY (GK)), 2. Mario ILICH (8. Albert RIERA), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN (11. Tom DOYLE), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (16. Yousif AL-KALISY), 10. Dylan MANICKUM (17. Andrew BLAKE), 14. Jordan VALE, 19. Logan ROGERSON, 20, Emiliano TADE (22. Mohamed AWAD (12. Kishan SAMI), 23. Alfie ROGERS (12. Ilham HAMEEDI).
INJURED: 5. Angel BERLANGA, 22. Maro BONSU-MARO.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium