Words: ACFC Media
Friday 27 May 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC head coach Albert Riera has identified Auckland United as one of the Navy Blues biggest rivals as Kiwitea Street braces itself for tomorrow's Dominion Road derby.
City have enjoyed a stellar start to the season with Riera's team top of the table by seven points and unbeaten in ten games but posing a major threat to that record is an Auckland United side coming to terms to life under their new coach José Figueira.
Figueira, of course, led Auckland City FC to a Northern League title, two ISPS Handa Premiership league titles and two NZF Charity Cups during a Covid-19 interrupted tenure and recently completed his UEFA A Licence with the Scottish Football Association.
Last season, the two clubs met just once with City winning an intense game 3-1 through goals by Reid Drake and Angus Kilkolly while Kingsley Sinclair scored for United.
Riera pulled no punches when he described what tomorrow's game means in the wider context of the race to qualify for the National League later in the year.
"I perceive Auckland United as one of our biggest rivals and opponents in the league. The reason for that is they have a core group of players playing together for a long time and any team that wants to have success it is an indispensible asset to have a group that understands each other well.
MATCH PREVIEW - Scene set for Dominion Road Derby— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) May 26, 2022
Riera & Vicelich run the rule over the Dominion Road Derby as City take on Auckland United FC as the Northern League season reaches the halfway stage
READ https://t.co/6Jmjfq9mSD pic.twitter.com/mO3yBXTWBQ
"They have a mutual understanding of how they play and they play in a very coordinated way without a doubt. One of the other assets they have is José Figueira.
"We all know José's trajectory, his experience and the wonderful CV he has. I know he has given his players the benefit of his expertise and that for certain they are going to be very well organised.
"They'll understand what to do in every facet of the game which makes them a very dangerous opponent," he said.
When asked how Auckland City FC counteract the attacking threats United bring to the game, Riera spoke plainly.
"The only thing we can do is fully prepare for this game as we have been doing. This week I thought the players were outstanding in the way they've focused for this match.
"This game is something we've been building towards. I've been very happy with the way we've trained and the players mindset and their attitude. The levels of concentration and commitment have been second to none.
"I think its very important to continue the same way tomorrow," he said.
Missing for Auckland City FC tomorrow will be influential defender Angel Berlanga who has a hamstring strain and Mario Ilich who damaged an ankle at training.
Both players face a couple of weeks out of action.
"In the first action of the game with Western Springs, Angel felt something in his hamstring and later in the week he had a scan which showed he has a small tear which means he won't be with us for the next two weeks.
"We hope he comes back sooner rather than later.
"Mario has hurt his ankle at training and it is a ligament issue but hopefully nothing too serious," he said.
Auckland City FC U-23s face their own Dominion Road derby when they take on Auckland United U-23 in the early 12pm off at Croatian Cultural Society. The Navy Blues have bounced back from a rocky couple of results with Birkenhead United U-23 and Manukau United U-23, notching wins over Western Springs U-23 (7-0) and Eastern Suburbs AFC (4-0).
A live stream of the Dominion Road Derby will be available courtesy of New Zealand Football - click here to watch the match. Commentary courtesy Glen Larmer.
Saturday 28 May 2022
Auckland City FC v Auckland United FC
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 3.00pm NZDT
AC (To be chosen from): 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 19. Liam GILLION, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
MANAGER: Keith COTON.
29.05. 21 v Auckland United FC (H) won 3-1 (Reid DRAKE 58', 84', Angus KILKOLLY 90+5' | Kingsley SINCALIR 70')
ABOUT AUCKLAND UNITED FC
Auckland United F.C was formed in 2020 after an amalgamation between neighbouring clubs Three Kings United and Onehunga Sports FC was approved by members in late 2019.
Three Kings United Football Club (TKU) was formed in 1997, through the amalgamation of Eden Football Club and The Mt Roskill Football Club. This amalgamation immediately created the largest football club in New Zealand and arguably the largest team sport club in New Zealand. The club has achieved 2400 registered players with over 1900 of those under the age of 18 in the past.
Overall the club engages with approximately 7,000 people in the Roskill, Eden, Mt Albert community, including friends and families of playing members.
The club's first season in the Northern Premier League was curtailed by Covid-19 with the competition declared null and void after just eight rounds. The 2021 season was Auckland United FC's first foray into the Chatham Cup.
They defeated Cambridge 9-0 in the third round before bowing out to Birkenhead United by a goal to nil in the next.
Auckland United 7-0 Hamilton Wanderers, 2021 - Northern League
Cambridge 0-9 Auckland United, 2021 - Chatham Cup
Auckland United FC 1-4 Western Springs, 2021 - Northern League
Auckland United FC is a new club, formed by merger with Onehunga Sports and Three Kings United FC. While they have yet to register a senior honour, their parent clubs did.
Chatham Cup winners 2017
Northern League Premier Division winners 2017, 2018
Northern League Division 1 winners 2001, 2006, 2010
Northern League Division 2 winners 1988, 1992
Northern League Division 3 winners 1977
Northern League Division 4 winners 1976
THREE KINGS UNITED FC
Chatham Cup runners-up 2009
Northern League Division 1 winners 1998, 2009
Northern League Division 3 winners 2000
26.03.22 v Birkenhead United (H) lost 0-1
02.04.22 v Manukau United (A) won 4-0 (Josh REDFEARN 3, Nic ZAMBRANO)
09.04.22 v Western Springs (H) won 2-1 (Ryusei ISHIBASHI, Andrew BLAKE | Dane SCHNELL)
15.04.22 v Eastern Suburbs AFC (H) drew 1-1 (Jonah PASTIROFF | Ralph RUTHERFORD)
18.04.22 v Takapuna (A) won 3-1 (Josh REDFEARN, Billy JONES, Michael DEN HEIJER | Daniel SEMP)
23.04.22 v Hamilton Wanderers (H) won 2-1 (Nic ZAMBRANO 2 | Jordan LAMB)
01.05.22 v Waiheke United (A) drew 1-1 (Andrew BLAKE | Eyob TEKALION)
07.05.22 v Melville United (A) lost 0-2
14.05.22 v North Shore United (H) won 4-2 (Ross HAVILAND, Nic ZAMBRANO, Josh REDFEARN, Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI | Harry LISSINGTON, Andrew ABBA)
21.05.22 v Bay Olympic (A) won 4-1 (Josh REDFEARN 2, Niz ZAMBRANO, Matt CONROY | Emmanuel DARKWA)
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium