Lockdown forces Navy Blues reshuffle

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 19 February 2021

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Lockdown forces Auckland City FC into training rejig as Wellington Phoenix clash looms in the ISPS Handa Premiership on Saturday.

With Auckland placed in Level 3 lockdown earlier this week, the Navy Blues were forced into contingencies but it appears such adaptations are a normal partof life according to coach Jose Figueira.

"Lockdown here in Auckland meant we had to change our plans for training slightly. We're happy we could get two sessions in before the game is obviouslyreally important.

AUDIO INTERVIEW - Jose FIGUEIRA

Auckland City FC · Lockdown forces Navy Blues reshuffle

"In terms of looking to rest players there will be a little bit of movement. I think this week and next week we've got an opportunity to do that but in saying that we're still very serious about the last two games.

"We want to keep the performance levels high, we want to keep the confidence in the squad flowing and give some players who need a little bit of game time Saturday could be an opportunity for them," Figueira told www.aucklandcityfc.com.

Auckland City FC need just a point from their final two games to seal their eighth consecutive and final ISPS Handa Premiership league title but coach Jose Figueira isn't taking anything for granted. An eighth league title would hand the Navy Blues their 12th championship since 2004.

He's also cautious about facing a Phoenix side that he says bring key strengths to the mix.

"There was a mix up with the league title, straight after the game we thought we had clinched things, but that's not the case.

"Obviously, we're very close and we've got a couple of games to seal top spot and the league title which I'm very confident we will do. The team is looking forward to getting back out on the pitch tomorrow.

"Its always a tricky challenge to play the Phoenix. In the past, you would speculate which professional players would be playing each week and that could differ.

"This year they've had a settled team, a settled group of players, so that makes it a little easier to understand what you could be facing however as we saw in the first game at Kiwitea Street they're an energetic team, very well prepared and tactically astute for their young age.

"We've got to be right at the top of our game to match to meet that challenge head on, match the energy got to be very focused, show the quality and attitude we've shown in previous weeks to get the three points," he said.

The Wellington Phoenix season started brightly but has fallen away considerably with Paul Temple's youngsters winless in their last seven matches dating back to their 3-0 victory over Hawke's Bay United on December 12 last year.

That losing sequence includes an 8-0 defeat to Eastern Suburbs AFC although Temple's players have shown increased improvement in their last games losing by the odd goal to Hawke's Bay United (3-2) and Hamilton Wanderers (2-1).

Auckland City FC's squad shows signs of strengthening with long term injury problems for Emiliano Tade easing and precautions taken over Logan Rogerson.

"The team is looking fit and healthy after last week's game. Logan felt a bit of tightness but our decision to withdraw him was totally precautionary and with the game won we decided not to risk anything.

"Emi almost trained fully with the team last week and if it wasn't for the loackdown he would have a full week under his belt.

"He's back with us and nearly up to full speed training ahead of the playoffs. We're looking really strong and reallty fit and we're in a good place."

The match kicks off at 2pm NZDT and is live on Sky Sport Next.

Ends

Match Details
ISPS Handa Men's Premiership
Saturday 20 February, 2021
Wellington Phoenix v Auckland City FC
Fraser Park, Lower Hutt
Kick-off: 2.00pm NZDT

AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Albert RIERA, 9. Kayne VINCENT, 10.Dylan MANICKUM, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Deandre VOLLENHOVEN, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Yousif AL-KALISY, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY (GK), 19. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Mohamed AWAD, 23. Alfie ROGERS.

COACH: Jose FIGUEIRA.

OTHER FIXTURES

Saturday 20 February, 2021
Canterbury United v Team Wellington
English Park, Christchurch - kick-off: 2pm NZDT

Sunday 21 February, 2021
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Hamilton Wanderers
Madills Farm, Auckland - kick-off: 4pm NZDT

Waitakere United v Hawke's Bay United
Seddon Fields, Auckland - kick-off: 4pm NZDT

EXTRA DETAILS - PLAYOFF CHASE

Auckland City FC- PL: 12, PTS: 26, GD: +14
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) - 20 Feb
v. Waitakere United (H) - 27 Feb

Auckland City FC need a point from two games to seal their 12th ISPS Handa Premiership league title and confirm a home semi-final against whoever finishes fourth. The Navy Blues form is excellent and they have every right to be optimistic of their success.

Team Wellington - PL: 12, PTS: 20, GD: +11
v. Canterbury United (A) - 20 Feb
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) - 27 Feb

A win over Canterbury United confirms Team Wellington's playoff spot. Two wins confirms at least second place and, depending on Auckland City FC's last two results, could even give Scott Hales side the title. Finishing level on points with the Navy Blues means tie-breakers must be explored (see below).

Hamilton Wanderers - PL: 12, PTS: 19, GD: +3
v. Eastern Suburbs (A) - 21 Feb
v. Team Wellington (A) - 27 Feb

Hamilton Wanderers head-to-head with Eastern Suburbs is a massive match with a victory for Wanderers confirming their playoff spot. A draw would leave both teams needing wins and hoping for results to go their way in the final round. A win for Eastern Suburbs puts pressure on Canterbury United and Waitakere United and leave Hawke's Bay United needing a miracle.

Eastern Suburbs - PL: 12, PTS: 15, GD:+1
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) - 21 Feb
v. Hawke's Bay United (A) - 28 Feb

Eastern Suburbs troubling form has left many asking questions about what has gone wrong at Madills Farm yet their fate rests firmly within their own grasp - two matches with two playoff contenders means victory over each and the Lilywhites will reach the playoffs. If Suburbs lose to Wanderers then they face a nervous final round away to Hawke's Bay a day after Canterbury face out-of-form Wellington Phoenix.

Canterbury United - PL: 12, PTS: 15, GD: -5
v. Team Wellington (H) - 20 Feb
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) - 27 Feb

Canterbury must take something out of both their final two games and hope results elsewhere go their way. Beating Team Wellington seems crucial to their playoff hopes leaving them with a manageable final round against Wellington Phoenix.

Waitakere United - PL: 12, PTS: 14, GD: 0
v. Hawke's Bay United (H) - 21 Feb
v. Auckland City FC (A) - 27 Feb

Waitakere United are not out of the hunt yet but will realistically need maximum points from their final games and hope the teams above them drop points.

Hawke's Bay United - PL: 12, PTS: 13, GD: -9
v. Waitakere United (A) - 21 Feb
v. Eastern Suburbs (H) - 28 Feb

Hawke's Bay's most realistic chance of sneaking fourth place is to pick up two wins in their final two games and hope Canterbury United, Hamilton Wanderers and their final day opponents have all dropped points in Round 13. It's mathematically possible, but seems unlikely.

ISPS HANDA PREMIERSHIP REGULATIONS

The TIE BREAKERS -

21.6 The results of league matches will be recorded in a league table. The ranking of each Participant shall be determined as follows:

21.6.1 Greatest number of points obtained in all league matches;
21.6.2 Goal difference in all league matches;
21.6.3 Greatest number of goals scored in all league matches.

21.7 At the conclusion of the league, the top four placed Participants, excluding the Wellington Phoenix, shall qualify for The Championship.

In the event of two or more of the Participants having equal points, their respective placing on the league table shall be determined as follows:

21.7.1 The head to head results between the teams equal on points.
21.7.2 The goal difference from the matches played between the teams equal on points.

21.8 If, after applying the above criteria, any two or more teams are still equal, their respective placing on the leaguetable shall be determined as follows:

21.8.1 Goal difference in all league matches;

21.8.2 Greatest number of goals scored in all league matches.

21.9 If, after applying the above criteria, any two or more teams are still equal, then the team with the superior disciplinary record in NL (by virtue of having the fewest penalty points accrued during theseason) shall be the highest placed team.

Penalty points shall be accrued as follows:

a for each Yellow Card received, a team will accrue 1 penalty point;
b for each Red Card received, a teamwill accrue 3 penalty points;
c and where an individual Player receives 2 Yellow Cards in the same NL game, a team will accrue 3 penalty points (the same as for a Red Card).

21.9.2 If, after applying the above criteria the final position of any two teams remain equal their final placing will be determined by a toss of a coin under the direction and supervision of NZF.

Where there are more than two teams who are equal having applied the above criteria then the final placing of these teams will be determined by the drawing of lots under the direction and supervision of NZF.

For the full ISPS Handa Premiership 2020-21 Regulations click here.

MILESTONES & STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
Joao Moreira and Emiliano Tade are the top scorers in this fixture with five goals each. Ryan De Vries has scored four.

The Wellington Phoenix Ruari Fleury and Nathaniel Hailemariam have each scored twice. Logan Rogerson has scored for both clubs in this fixture in January

2015 and December 2020.

Auckland City FC have faced the Wellington Phoenix's A-League side three times, beating them 1-0 and earning two draws (2-2, 1-1).

The two teams first met in the now defunct Phoenix Challenge with Auckland City FC winning one and drawing one.

The clubs have met 15 times with Auckland City FC winning 12 times with one draw and two defeats.

The Wellington Phoenix last win over Auckland City FC was five years ago when Logan Rogerson's goal handed the Wee Nix a rare 1-0 victory.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

2020-21
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 4-1 (Dylan MANICKUM 2, Logan ROGERSON, Mohamed AWAD | Riley BIDOIS)

2019-20
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 3-0 (Myer BEVAN, Dylan MANICKUM, Jordan VALE)
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 3-2 (Clayton LEWIS, Mario ILICH, Emiliano TADE| Ben WAINE, Angel BERLANGA OG)

2018-19
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 3-0 (Jordan VALE, Dan MORGAN, Reid DRAKE)
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 2-1 (David BROWNE, Yousif AL-KALISY | Justin GULLEY)

2017-18
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 4-0 (Emiliano TADE 2, Daewook KIM, Fabrizio TAVANO)
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 2-0 (Emiliano TADE 2)

2016-17
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) lost 0-1 (- | Logan ROGERSON)
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 2-0 (Fabrizio TAVANO, Clayton LEWIS)

2015-16
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 3-1 (Clayton LEWIS, Ryan DE VRIES, Mikael ALVARO | James McGARRY)
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 4-2 (Joao MOREIRA 3, Ryan DE VRIES | Ruari CAHILL-FLEURY 2)

2014-15
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) lost 1-3 (Fabrizio TAVANO | Nathaniel HAILEMARIAM 2, Joel STEVENS)
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 7-0 (Ryan DE VRIES 2, Joao MOREIRA 2, Oscar GARCIA, Ivan CARRIL, Andrew MILNE)

2012-13 - PHOENIX CHALLENGE
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 3-1 (Emiliano TADE 3)

2010-11 - PHOENIX CHALLENGE
v. Wellington Phoenix (H) drew 1-1 (Manel EXPOSITO)

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