Words: Edward Connolly
Sunday 24 January 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Jose Figueira says Gridlock Derby draw feels like a defeat after late own goal produces 1-1 draw with Eastern Suburbs AFC.
Figueira sounded disappointed after the final whistle as his side let victory slip from their grasp on the stroke of full time.
"Conceding a late goal it feels like two points dropped. I think we started both halves slowly for whatever reason.
AUDIO INTERVIEW - Jose FIGUEIRA
"For the first five to eight minutes of both halves we grew into them really strongly. We've created enough clear absolute goalscoring chances to put the game to bed.
"This result is much tougher to take when its a late goal conceded," he said.
The Gridlock Derby produced its usual share of hefty challenges with goalscorer Manickum and midfielder Yousif Ali Al-Kalisy both nursing knocks at the final whistle.
Figueira said it was part and parcel of the Gridlock Derby.
"Dylan and Yousif are both fine - them and others are used to having icen post-match, its nothing out of the ordinary.
"The Gridlock Derby always carries a bit of niggle and the two teams are always going toe to toe but in my view there wasn't anything over the line - it was just two teams who both wanted to win," he said of the action.
The Navy Blues had plenty of chances to win the game including Mohamed Awad's effort midway through the second half that was stifled by Danyon Drake.
The overall improvement in the Navy Blues frontline was a point of interest for observers who have seen the Figueira-coached side extend their unbeaten run to four games.
"We had a little spell where we had one or two players with little injuries which meant we didn't get that consistency or momentum.
"The connections in our forward line took some time to get going but the likes of Mohamed and a couple of others have been able to integrate themselves into the team more.
"We've got that momentum going now and we were five minutes away from making that four wins from the last four.
"We'll take the point and look to bounce back next week.
"We've got a group of players that want to be better every day. They push each other and the feeling today from them is its two points dropped and it feels like a loss.
"We wouldn't want their attitude to be any other way.
"We've got an ultra competitive group and once we get back into training tomorrow the eyes will be on Hawke's Bay and getting back to winning ways."
Auckland City FC's next game is away to Hawke's Bay United at Bluewater Stadium in Napier on Sunday 31 January, 2021.
The game kicks off at 2pm NZDT.
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Sunday 24 January, 2021
Madills Farm, Kohimarama
Eastern Suburbs AFC 1 (Own Goal - Adam MITCHELL 90+1')
Auckland City FC 1 (Dylan MANICKUM 78')
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Albert RIERA, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 14. Jordan VALE (17. Andrew BLAKE 82'), 16. Yousif Ali AL-KALISY (21. Maro BONSU-MARO 76'), 19. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Mohamed AWAD (15. Aidan CAREY 90'), 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 11. Tom DOYLE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK).
COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.
Saturday 23 January, 2021
Waitakere United 3-3 Canterbury United
Sunday 24 January, 2021
Hamilton Wanderers 1-4 Hawke's Bay United
Team Wellington 5-2 Wellington Phoenix
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium