Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 2 April 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC youngster Nathan Lobo proved the difference this afternoon netting his first goal for the club in a hard fought 2-1 victory over Takapuna AFC at the Croatian Cultural Centre.
It was the first Navy Blues senior goal for Lobo, who is a graduate of the Auckland City FC National Youth League squad, and comes in just his second senior appearance for the first team.
“It was great to get the three points and obviously the team deserves to get the credit,” Lobo said.
“It’s a great feeling, it’s my first goal in the league so I’m quite happy to get it and it’s good to give the boys a victory. I just had the ball and heard someone say ‘shoot, shoot’ so I just went for it and thankfully it went in.”
To help his side secure three points was important for the young attacker in a score line separated by a single goal.
The newly promoted North Shore-based side were eager to show they could cut it with league’s defending champions and they gave a solid account of themselves.
Despite that, it was Auckland City FC who took the lead via a Sam Brotherton header at the far post in the 38th minute after the New Zealand international headed a Gerard Garriga corner through a crowded goalbox into the net.
VIDEO - Nathan Lobo scores his first goal for Auckland City FC
61' | 2-1— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) April 2, 2022
GOAL!!!, Auckland City FC
The Navy Blues retake the lead via Nathan Lobo (@Lobz45) its his first senior goal for the club in just his second appearance, a fine milestone for a National Youth League #JuniorNavyBlues graduate #StrengthInUnity #ACvTK pic.twitter.com/QJcmtlkIb5
The visitors hit back when Samuel Robertson lashed home a fine strike from the outside the area just after half time.
But Takapuna AFC seemed to take their foot off the gas momentarily and that allowed National Youth League graduate and former Junior Navy Blues defender, Lobo, the chance to restore the lead.
The combinations between Dylan Manickum and Lobo to work the channels up the left flank was a pressure point for Takapuna, whose defenders struggled to contain the duo and it was this that led to the next goal.
Lobo raced down the Takapuna right, evaded two challenges, then lashed home a ferocious near post shot that Takapuna AFC goalkeeper Liam Anderson couldn't reach.
VIDEO - Liam Anderson in top form for Takapuna
22' | 0-0— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) April 2, 2022
Liam Anderson comes to @takapuna_afc rescue as he smothers a @ReidDrake17 effort after he was cleverly played in by @DylanManickum...well offside? #StrengthInUnity #ACvTK pic.twitter.com/zjEoF0dasP
Auckland City FC continued to apply waves of pressure to a tiring Takapuna but were denied from adding to their tally by excellent goalkeeping from Anderson.
Coach Albert Riera felt his side were a long way off in the first half given the match played out exactly as they’d expected, and exactly as they’d spent the past week practicing for.
But he respected the players’ ability to regroup and keep pushing in the second half.
“Probably the first half wasn’t good enough,” Riera said.
“But I thought we have to be calmer with the ball, especially against teams like Takapuna. They’re very physical and love these types of games and we actually fell into their game plan really.
“I thought the second half was much better, calmer on the ball and we were able to make it run.”
Riera said with the side having fallen into the trap of playing their opponents game, he encouraged them to take back control, bring some calm to the game and exploit the spaces.
“We knew that the space was switching the ball from one side to the other and we couldn’t find that, we kept playing towards the same area and that was where Takapuna wanted it,” he explained.
“They had a lot of energy, but we knew they would drop a bit of that in the second half and we had to put the game to bed, we actually missed a lot of chances, and if you don’t do that you get punished.”
Elsewhere, Bay Olympic maintained its perfect start to the season with a dramatic 3-2 away win at Melville United to stay in top spot.
Auckland United claimed its first win of the season with a 4-0 away win at Manukau United while Eastern Suburbs AFC miserable start to 2022 continued, this time with a 2-1 home defeat to Hamilton Wanderers who jumped up to second place.
Birkenhead United stayed with the leaders after a 2-1 away win at struggling North Shore United and there was another stalemate for Western Springs after they were held to a 1-1 draw by newly promoted, and struggling, Waiheke United.
Next week sees Auckland City FC travel to Porritt Stadium to face undefeated Hamilton Wanderers.
Saturday 2 April 2022
Auckland City FC 2 (Sam BROTHERTON 38', Nathan LOBO 61')
Takapuna AFC 1 (Samuel ROBERTSON 50')
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 8. Gerard GARRIGA (15. Aidan CAREY 68'), 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO (23. Alfie ROGERS 85'), 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 85'), 17. Reid DRAKE.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 5. Angel BERLANGA.
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
REFEREE: Riley GREENBURY
AR1: Aaron DAY
AR2: Khalid ELGANA
Manukau United 0-4 Auckland United
Eastern Suburbs AFC 1-2 Hamilton Wanderers
North Shore United 1-2 Birkenhead United
Western Springs 1-1 Waiheke United
Melville United 2-3 Bay Olympic
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC