Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 16 January 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC bounce back from Club World Cup disappointment to defeat Hamilton Wanderers 2-1 in the latest round of the ISPS Handa Premiership.
The victory came hot on the heels of FIFA's overnight acknowledgement of the club's withdrawal from next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar with the question being posed as to how Auckland City FC's players would respond in what presented as a tough match.
A first half own goal and a superb Brian Kaltack header gave the Navy Blues a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead as Jose Figueira's side looked to exact payback following a 2-0 defeat to Hamilton Wanderers last November.
Goalkeeper Cam Brown continued his excellent form with key saves in each half while Kaltack's goal was his sixth for the club in 36 matches.
But a contentious straight red card for midfielder Mario Ilich saw momentum swing back the way of the visitors who halved the deficit courtesy of an Owen Comber goal leaving the Navy Blues with it all to do.
Figueira will be satisfied but concerned his team have twice been reduced to ten-men this season although have yet to be properly punished on each occasion with the last time it happened occurring in the 2-2 away draw with Team Wellington last November when Kaltack was sent off.
Auckland City FC threw Andrew Blake into the fray for Logan Rogerson in an attempt to mitigate the increased demand on his players as it Figueira's team saw off the challenge.
Wanderers threw everything at ten-man Auckland City FC but were denied by solid defending and sound game management to make it three wins on the bounce for Figueira's men.
Victory sees Auckland City FC maintain top spot in the chase for the league title with six rounds of the regular season left to play.
More to come.
MEDIA RELEASE - Auckland City FC withdraw from FIFA Club World Cup™— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) January 15, 2021
Auckland City FC is unable to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic & related quarantine measures required by NZ authorities.
Full Media Release here: https://t.co/0wLQ7Xp6FN pic.twitter.com/QreZFwmZ7b
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 16 January, 2021
Auckland City FC 2 (Own Goal 31', Brian KALTACK 53')
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (Owen COMBER 80')
Mario ILICH (Red Card) for Auckland City FC minute 64.
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY (8. Albert RIERA 87'), 19. Logan ROGERSON (17. Andrew BLAKE 76'), 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 4. Mario BILEN, 13. Dre VOLLENHOVEN.
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Saturday 16 January, 2021
Canterbury United 1-0 Eastern Suburbs AFC
Sunday 17 January, 2021
Hawke's Bay United 2-2 Team Wellington
Wellington Phoenix v Waitakere United
Fraser Park, Lower Hutt - kick-off: 4pm NZDT
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium