Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 18 May 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - No room for complacency - that's Albert Riera's message to his players when Auckland City FC take on Eastern Suburbs AFC in the first Gridlock Derby of the year on Saturday.
The Lilywhites have endured a season of struggle so far and sit one point above the relegation zone after nine rounds.
But while the league table suggests City are red-hot favourites to extend their unbeaten run to ten matches, Riera is keeping a healthy pressure on his team ahead of the game.
"The first thing to do in a game with Eastern Suburbs AFC is not look at the league table. That would be a big mistake on our part.
"I am very aware that Gridlock Derby games are always hard fought and very competitive and tight.
"You can pay a high price for any mistakes you make.
"I have addressed that with our players. We're in a good run of form but that can sometimes be a bit tricky.
"We don't want to be complacent or drop our standards - we are going to start this game with the same level of intensity as our previous games.
"The players who start the game, or who are on the bench, will give everything to keep our standards high because we want to create as many chances as possible to win the game," he said.
Helping the situation is the return to action from a bout of Covid-19 for assistant coach Ivan Vicelich, Adria Casals and physio Matt Payne.
Metro FC's Danyon Drake and former Navy Blues hero, Takuya Iwata, gave a helping hand when Riera was left down on staff numbers, something he is grateful for.
"This is something that can happen at anytime so its important to be flexible and provide some solutions.
"Ivan, Adria and Matt were ill the day before the Manukau United game, so straight away I thought of Danyon.
"I have to thank Danyon and his club - he had worked with Metro FC the day before so had no football commitments and he very kindly assisted us in South Auckland.
"Another person to thank is Takuya Iwata - he accepted the opportunity to help us out with an improvised coaching staff set-up
"He's a great guy and great character to have around and I'm very grateful to him he helped.
"The staff are all back now and I need the help of these guys to prepare the game because we want to give maximum information to our players," Riera said.
Chatham Cup Draw
Auckland City FC have been drawn to face Albany United in the second round of the Chatham Cup. The game takes place on Queen's Birthday weekend of 4-6 June, 2022, at Kiwitea Street.
Auckland City FC U-23s also take on Eastern Suburbs AFC in the latest round of the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division competition.
Saturday 21 May 2022
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Auckland City FC
Madills Farm, Auckland
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Gerrard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DEVRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 21. Ilham HAMEEDI, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 5-0 (Angus KILKOLLY 8', 86', Emiliano TADE 72', 73', 89')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 2-1 (Dylan MANICKUM 5', Christian GRAY OG 51' | Ryan FEUTZ 74') - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi-Final
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) drew 1-1 (Dylan MANICKUM 78' | Adam MITCHELL OG 90')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 1-0 (Emiliano TADE 67'-pen)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) drew 0-0
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 2-0 (Brian JALTAK 60', Myer BEVAN 89')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 1-0 (Dylan MANICKUM 54')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 3-2 (Micah LEA'ALAFA 14', 47', Brian KALTAK 23' | Callum McCOWATT 54', Dominic WOLLDRIDGE 64')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 2-0) (Emiliano TADE 20', Micah LEA'ALAFA 71')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 1-0 (Callum McCOWATT 82')
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 4-0 (Emiliano TADE 56'-pen, 86', Callum McCOWATT 71', Dalton WILKINS 90') - ISPS Handa Premiership Semi-Final
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 1-0 (Emiliano TADE 71'-pen)
v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) won 2-1 (Joao MOREIRA 67'-pen, Emiliano TADE 90' | Moses DYER 88')
Tu 12 Dec 2023, Al Ittihad, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, KO: 9.00pm local