Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 25 June 2022
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A goal in each half by Reid Drake and Emiliano Tade gave Auckland City FC a 2-0 win over Hamilton Wanderers today - but the Navy Blues were made to work for their points by the industrious visitors.
Wanderers came into the game off the back of a five game winning streak and they emphasised their top four credentials by creating two decent chances in the early exchanges that were dealt with by Conor Tracey.
VIDEO - Reid Drake scores
But once the game settled into its rythmn, it became clear it would be Wanderers who would be on the back foot.
Goalkeeper Matt Oliver played a fantastic game for Joseph Hinds, pulling off a string of top quality saves to deny City.
But his and Wanderers resistance was finally broken when Drake worked himself into a good shooting position then whipped a low shot past Oliver on 17 minutes to hand City the lead.
The second half was played at a high tempo from start to finish and City were forced into some committed defending with chances for Wanderers few and far between.
That changed when a Xavier Pratt shot from outside the box took a deflection into the path of Derek Tieku whose cross somehow eluded Aston Hurd at the far post.
The visitors then had a let off when Dylan Manickum raced through on Oliver only for the Wanderers keeper to foul Manickum outside the box.
Referee Calvin Berg brandished Oliver a yellow card with some supporters expecting red.
Despite that, the final blow was landed when substitute Tade, on for Ryan De Vries who left proceedings in the first half with an injury, made Wanderers pay for failure to clear their lines.
The Argentine striker gathered the ball on the edge of the box before slamming home a brilliant volley that gave Oliver no chance.
VIDEO - Emiliano Tade scores
Coach Albert Riera was very satisfied with the result and performance against an opponent that pushed City all the way.
"I thought it was a hard battle - we knew it was going to happen like this, it happened in Hamilton and it happened today.
"But we love the battle, we love it as well.
"If you think the game will be easy then it's never the case and it was exactly like this today.
"I thought we played a very good game and they made it hard for us and I'm very happy with three points and a clean sheet.
"With a team like Hamilton - and with the chances we created - you have to be very clinical otherwise you know you're going to suffer.
"But we have a very special talent in our squad and today was one of those special games for special players.
"We scored two very good goals, especially the one Emi scored," he said.
Auckland City FC's next game is with Eastern Suburbs on Wednesday 29 June 2022 at 7.30pm NZDT at the Croatian Cultural Society.
The match, and Auckland City FC's schedule, has been reworked with news the OFC Champions League will take place in New Zealand in August.
The club will publish its new fixture list when it is confirmed with Oceania Football Confederation, New Zealand Football, Northern Regional Football and the clubs concerned.
Saturday 25 June 2022
Auckland City FC 2 (Reid DRAKE 17', Emiliano TADE 85')
Hamilton Wanderers 0
AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES (20. Emiliano TADE 34'), 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Nathan LOBO (23. Alfie ROGERS), 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE (8. Gerard GARRIGA).
SUBS NOT USED: 19. Liam GILLION, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
TUESDAY 21 JUNE 2022
Manukau United 0-2 Hamilton Wanderers
FRIDAY 24 JUNE 2022
Melville United 2-0 Takapuna
Western Springs 1-3 Auckland United
SATURDAY 25 JUNE 2022
Manukau United 6-0 North Shore United
Birkenhead United 3-0 Bay Olympic
Eastern Suburbs 2-1 Waiheke United
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Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium