Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 13 November 2016
Picture: Southern United Media
INVERCARGILL, New Zealand - A Fabrizio Tavano goal with seven minutes left handed the Navy Blues a precious 1-0 away win at Southern United today.
Shorn of their two All Whites Clayton Lewis and Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi and mercurial midfielder Mario Bilen, Auckland City FC were forced to work hard for victory.
Former Navy Blues goalkeeper Liam Little played an integral part for the home side denying Ryan De Vries and Marko Dordevic in either half.
But the home side were not without their own opportunities with Tennessee Kinghorn going close on the half-hour mark.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx said missed chances nearly cost his team dearly.
"When you don't take your chances this is what can happen.
"We had an unbelievable amount of chances and unfortunately for us most of them were off target.
"These things happen. We missed a lot of chances and it gave Southern United the mental strength to carry on and defend and defend.
"It was one of those games where the more chances you miss you can possibly even lose the game.
"In the last five minutes anything could've happened. Throw ins, corners and a deflection - so we needed to be careful.
"But we hung on. We played a very good game, I'm very happy with the performance and if we had scored earlier maybe it would've been a very different game for us.
"The effort and the mentality of the team was very good," he said.
For Southern United, a team that hasn't beaten Auckland City FC in just over 10 years, there was understandable pride exhibited by the home support.
Tribulietx said it was a matter of perspective.
AUDIO - Ramon Tribulietx
"It depends on how you look at the game. In terms of possession we probably had 80 percent of the ball. We knew they would sit deep its been happening in other games - Waitakere, Canterbury and Tasman, all did the same.
"Its a matter of us breaking the deadlock. We had five or six chances, one from two yards out, and we miss them. That's life. But you can get hit on the counter attack or at a set-piece.
"We showed patience, kept creating chances and we got a goal at the right time. The whole team played well, it can be a tough in these situations.
"Its been a very long day, a long trip, and we're grateful to have picked up three valuable points," he said.
Further chances were carved out by De Vries and Lea'alafa but committed defending by Dany Ledwith - who hooked one effort off the line in the first half - kept the scoreline close.
Kinghorn had a chance near the end and O'Reilly's team, sensing a chance to notch just their fourth ever draw with the visitors, sent Little forward in the dying stages in the hope of snatching a point.
Stirling Sports Premiership
Sunday 13 November, 2016
Southern United 0
Auckland City FC 1 (Fabrizio Tavano 83')