Words: ACFC Media
Friday 15 April 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC go top of the Northern League after a 4-0 win over a spirited Waiheke United on a day of colour, passion and goals at Kiwitea Street today.
The Navy Blues first match on Kiwitea Street in 251 days proved to be a loud, colourful and exciting affair with Waiheke United's special group of fans creating an exciting atmosphere unrivalled anywhere in New Zealand in club football.
Coach Albert Riera was forced to carefully plan his team selection with several players faced with late fitness tests but he did welcome back two club legends in Angel Berlanga and Emiliano Tade, both starting for the Navy Blues together for the first time since February 16, 2020.
GOAL!!! Emiliano Tade opens the scoring
Emiliano Tade got an early goal working himself into an excellent position before lashing an unstoppable shot past Sebastian Ciganda for his 123rd goal for the club and his first since injuring himself on the same pitch nearly 7 months ago.
Waiheke United, bouyed by their vocal and non-stop support, created only one chance when Elijah Timmons-Scanlon when sent a long range shot over Conor Tracey's crossbar late in the first half.
City dominated the half but may have felt somewhat flat by taking only a 1-0 lead into the dressing room at the break.
Riera withdrew Tade at the break and replaced him with Ryan De Vries who made his first appearance in a Navy Blue shirt since 17 December 2017, a total of 4 years, 3 months and 29 days since his last match for the club.
The switch had an immediate effect when Angus Kilkolly bundled the ball over the line within two minutes of the restart.
United goalkeeper Sebastian Ciganda made a brilliant save when he turned a Cam Howieson freekick over the bar but he couldn't prevent the inevitability of another City goal.
Dylan Manickum supplied that with a comfortable finish on the hour mark which allowed Riera the opportunity to give pitch time to Reid Drake and Liam Gillion.
Waiheke tested Tracey with a well taken free-kick but it was the goalkeeper at the other end, Ciganda, who had an outstanding afternoon for his club.
It was Ciganda who prevented City from running away with a much bigger margin of victory.
GOAL!!! Sam Brotherton grabs the fourth
Substitute Sam Brotherton added to Waiheke United's woes when he stabbed home a fourth goal at the near post with just a few minutes left.
Ciganda, who it was roundly agreed by both coaches was player of the match, showed defiance when he saved an Angus Kilkolly penalty in additional time.
Match Reaction - Albert Riera
Navy Blues coach Riera gave a half time salvo to his team after a level of dissatisfaction with aspects of the first half.
As ever, his analysis of the game was honest and to the point.
"I felt our first half wasn't the best and I let the players know that.
"They have to accept that every team that plays against Auckland City FC is going to give it everything.
"Every time our players pull on the Navy Blue jersey they have to understand that everyone wants to beat us.
"I thought we approached the game a bit softly but in the second half we were much better.
"We created chances, we could've scored more but Waiheke gave a very decent performance and they were very well organised.
"They tired a little at the end but they can be proud of themselves," he said.
Of Berlanga, Tade and De Vries appearance in a Navy Blue shirt for some time, Riera recognised the significance.
"I'm happy to see Berlanga, Tade and De Vries back on the grass.
"I know what Angel and Emiliano went through with long term injuries - I've gone through the same thing myself as a player.
"You feel very isolated and can't see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes.
"When you play again its a fantastic feeling and thats what they'll both be going through and I'm very happy for them," he said.
Auckland City FC face North Shore United at Allen Hill Stadium on Monday at 3.00pm NZDT to complete their Easter Weekend Double Header.
Friday 15 April 2022
Auckland City FC 4 (Emiliano TADE 5', Angus KILKOLLY 47', Dylan MANICKUM 62', Sam BROTHERTON 86')
Waiheke United 0
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 5. Angel BERLANGA (12. Sam BROTHERTON 72'), 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY (17. Reid DRAKE 62'), 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 62'), 20. Emiliano TADE ( 11. Ryan DE VRIES 46').
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Finn DOCKERTY (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
REFEREE: Ben NORMAN
ASSISTANT REFEREE 1: Phillip ROGERS
ASSISTANT REFEREE 2: Khalid ELGANA
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC