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Controversial penalty settles Gridlock Derby

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 15 November 2020

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Emiliano Tade's highly contentious second half penalty has handed Auckland City FC a narrow 1-0 win over Eastern Suburbs AFC in the opening game of the ISPS Handa Men's Premiership at Kiwitea Street today.

A bumper crowd greeted the two teams whose last Premiership outing was back in March before the global pandemic broke out and there was no lacking in intensity as both teams were let off the leash.

Mario Bilen was handed his 150th club appearance since signing for the Navy Blues in 2013 but the Croatian's afternoon last just 12 minutes after he went off with an ankle injury.

Injuries came thick and fast with Lilywhites debutant Josh Rogerson helped off with a suspected shoulder injury after he bundled Navy Blues skipper Cam Howieson over for what looked like a penalty shout.

Next to go was Logan Rogerson who went off with a hamstring issue while Adam Thomas was taken off with ten minutes to spare with what looked like a groin problem.

In between there were two head clashes - Andrew Blake and Dan Edwards colliding while Alfie Rogers was also a concern after he had a head knock.


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The eight months break didn't do any favours for either team but there was a frantic pace set that brought both goalkeepers into action. First Cam Brown pulled off a stunning save from Edwards then blocked what looked like a certain goal from the same opponent.

At the other end, Danyon Drake showed just how good a goalkeeper he is when he denied Tade's curling left foot shot before tipping an Albert Riera dipping long range shot onto the face of the post.

The penalty was awarded after referee Matt Conger adjudged Christian Gray to have handled the ball when replays showed the Lilywhites substitute was unlucky with the impact on his lower body.

Drake couldn't prevent Tade from slotting home his 113th Navy Blues goal in all competitions to set up an exciting and frantic finish. Drake was in all sorts of bother later on when Tade curled a brilliant free-kick over the Lilywhites wall only for the ball to slam the face of the crossbar.

The Lilywhites nearly drew level when Kelvin Kalua slammed a powerful and controlled shot that Brown tipped away to all but seal an opening day win for Auckland City FC.

Elsewhere, Team Wellington won Saturday's Wel Classico courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline against the Wellington Phoenix youth team while in Christchurch, Waitakere United battered Canterbury United 4-0. The other game played at Bluewater Stadium saw Hamilton Wanderers continue their impressive pre-season form with a 3-0 vcitory over Hawke's Bay United.

Next Sunday sees Auckland City FC travel to Porritt Stadium, the scene of their 2-1 friendly defeat of several weeks ago.


Match Result
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Sunday 15 November 2020
Auckland City FC 1 (Emiliano TADE 66'-pen)
Eastern Suburbs AFC 0
HT: 0-0.

AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN (17. Andrew BLAKE), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 10. Dylan MANICKUM (22. Maro BONSU-MARO), 14. Jordan VALE, 19. Logan ROGERSON (8. Albert RIERA), 20. Emiliano TADE, 23. Alfie ROGERS.

SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 16. Yousif AL-KALISY.


Other results:

Saturday 14 November 2020
Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Team Wellington
Canterbury United 0-4 Waitakere United

Sunday 15 November 2020
Hawke's Bay United 0-3 Hamilton Wanderers
Auckland City FC 1-0 Eastern Suburbs AFC

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