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Scene set for Chatham Cup classic

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 20 August 2022

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The scene is set for a Chatham Cup semi-final classic when Auckland City FC take on Wellington Olympic at Kiwitea Street tomorrow.

Yesterday, Wellington Olympic started as the TAB favourites for tomorrow's game with the 'Greeks', as they are known, set at $2.30 for the win and City at $2.50.

Those odds have since changed significantly in favour of City but coach Albert Riera was blunt in his general assessment of that.

"We have enough things to worry about without looking at that.

"We don't really care about what other people think, the only thing we know and we are focused on is playing a very strong team who are going to be very fresh and very well prepared.

"We're going to try to play good football, the way we play our football and try to impose ourselves and create chances to win the game.

"We know to beat a team like Olympic we need to be at our best," he said. 

Wellington Olympic have had a memorable season. Olympic lead the race for the Central League title with a two point advantage over Miramar Rangers with just two games to play.

Their Chatham Cup journey has been equally impressive with 26 goals scored with only three in reply.

Coach Rupert Kemeys team feature a raft of faces familiar to Kiwitea Street fans with around half of the usual starting line-up formerly with Team Wellington.

Kemeys himself also won Capital Football's Coach of the Year award recently following stellar work at previous club Wainuiomata.

Striker Gianni Bouzoukis and Jack-Henry Sinclair have been in outstanding form for Kemeys and will be two among many to keep an eye on. 

The Navy Blues have come through a busy year with 34 games, both competitive and preparatory, and won 33 with just one draw, a 1-1 result with Hamilton Wanderers at Porritt Stadium on 9 April.

Riera's team hit a season high last Wednesday when City defeated AS Venus 3-0 to win it's tenth OFC Champions League title and with it qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup next year.

"The reality is our players are showing a resilience and a willingness to do better every day which is something I really admire.

"We've had a hard month in July with a lot of important games every three days and the way they players have worked and shown the desire and willingess to win everything at any cost has been second to none.

"I believe that's the best preparation for the Chatham Cup semi-final with Wellington Olympic, having played so many important games.

"Our players carry themselves in a very mature way, very composed, its been fantastic to witness, and I hope that's what they carry forward into what we want to be a very good game with the right outcome," he said.

Riera is under no illusions about how difficult Sunday's task will be for City but he senses home advantage may play into his team's favour.

"The team is looking good and after winning the OFC Champions League the confidence is second to none. There is nothing better to win a title like that to keep going and create more energy and motivation. 

"We had a lot of games and a lot of training sessions but the way the players have carried themselves has been excellent. All this effort to achieve what you want always pays off and is very rewarding and it generates extra motivation.

"I'm sure there's going to be a huge crowd and we're going to make the most of it. Football doesn't get better than that. We don't want to stop now, we want to keep going and show we have our winning mentality intact. 

"For us to be able to play a semi-final in front of our supporters at Kiwitea Street against a very strong opponent in Wellington Olympic, who have done extremely well in the Central League this year, is exciting.

"They have a very strong squad with fantastic players who have been in these situations before and we have prepared very well for this game because I am sure it's going to be a tight game," he said.

Giving Riera a boost is the return to training of striker Angus Kilkolly although tomorrow may be too soon for him.

Defender Alfie Rogers who missed the OFC Champions League due to a hamstring problem. Rogers, should he take part tomorrow, will make his 100th appearance in an Auckland City FC jersey while Angel Berlanga is unlikely to make it. 

Central United FC - 60th Anniversary
The match also marks an important milestone for Auckland City FC's sister club Central United FC. Past and present club members, players and coaches, administrators, the club's junior and senior membership, will be out in force, as the Kiwitea Street clubs demonstrate a unified front in the biggest game of the year. 


Live stream details

The match kicks off at 2.00pm NZDT and will be live streamed by New Zealand Football via it's YouTube channel here.

Ends

Match Details
Chatham Cup Semi-Final
Sunday 21 August 2022
Auckland City FC v Wellington Olympic
Kiwitea Street, Auckland
Kick-off: 2.00pm NZDT

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).

COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GOALKEEPER COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
MANAGER: Keith COTON
ANALYST: Adria CASALS
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE

PLAYER TO WATCH - GIANNI BOUZOUKIS
The talented 23-year-old has set the Central region alight this season with an impressive 12 goals in just 15 appearances for Wellington Olympic. Formerly with the Wellington Phoenix where he played 9 times in the New Zealand Football Championship, Bouzoukis could be the player Auckland City FC need to keep an eye on today.

HEAD COACH - RUPERT KEMEYS
Rupert Kemeys is in his first full season in charge of Wellington Olympic and came to the club having had success with Wainuiomata in 2020. Kemeys was voted Capital Football's Coach of the Year after he guided the club to a Capital Premier League title.

ABOUT THE VISITORS – WELLINGTON OLYMPIC AFC

HONOURS
Chatham Cup winners 2009
Chatham Cup runners-up 1994
Superclub Plate Winners 1995
Central Premier League winners 2021, 2016, 2010
Central League Division 1 winners 1991
Central League Division 2 winners 1995, 1986, 1982, 1980, 1977
Central League Division 3 winners 1994

BIGGEST WIN (LEAGUE)
v. Wellington United won 11-1, 2019

BIGGEST DEFEAT (LEAGUE)
v. Hungaria lost 0-14, 1973

BIGGEST WIN (CHATHAM CUP)
v. Wellington College won 13-0, 2004
v. Stokes Valley won 13-0, 2019

BIGGEST DEFEAT (CHATHAM CUP)
v. Waterside lost 2-7, 1976.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS
Auckland City FC has never played today’s opponents Wellington Olympic previously.

ABOUT WELLINGTON OLYMPIC

Olympic fondly known as “The Greeks” were founded in 1953 as Apollon AFC. In 1959 the club changed its name to Christian Youth Football Club (CYFC) and a latter change to Wellington Olympic AFC came in 1983.

The club has a proud history in Wellington football and has established itself as one of the dominant clubs in the Central Region.

Olympic competed on the national stage for the first time in 1993 making the national round of the Superclub Championship finishing in 6th position.

A year later they repeated the feat, finishing 5th and also made the final of the 1994 Chatham Cup narrowly losing 0-1 to Waitakere City.

During that 1994 season they also played Auckland City’s sister club Central United for the first time ever in the national round of the Superclub competition defeating the Auckland side 2-0.

Olympic and Central United next met at national level in the 1999 North Island League with Central victorious on both occasions home and away. The two clubs have never met again since then at senior level.

The connection between Olympic and Kiwitea Street was revived however in 2013 when the Central United Over 35’s side travelled to Wellington to take on their Olympic counterparts for a newly minted trophy ‘The Mediterranean Cup’.

The Greeks put on a fabulous display of hospitality for this end of season friendly match and were victorious in claiming the new trophy. A year later the roles were reciprocated and a great weekend was enjoyed by both sets of players in Auckland.

Olympic claimed it's first national title with Chatham Cup success coming after a 2-1 win against Three Kings United in the 2009 final.

Three Kings United took an early lead through a third-minute goal from Luiz del Monte. They dominated for much of the early part of the match, but Olympic fought back, and a header just before the half-hour mark from Mickey Malivuk levelled the scores at 1-1. In the second half Olympic held the upper hand, and eventually took the lead through a 75th minute penalty converted by Raf De Gregorio. Three Kings pressed strongly during the last few minutes but were unable to produce an equaliser.

The Jack Batty Memorial Trophy for the payer of the final was awarded to former All White De Gregorio.

Auckland City FC warmly welcomes Wellington Olympic AFC and their supporters to Kiwitea Street today for what promises to be a fantastic Cup tie between two clubs with a proud and rich histories.

CURRENT FORM
26.03.22 v Petone (A) won 5-1
02.04.22 v Wellington United (H) won 4-0
09.04.22 v North Wellington (A) won 2-1
15.04.22 v Wellington Phoenix (A) drew 2-2
23.04.22 v Napier City Rovers (H) won 3-0
30.04.22 v Waterside Karori (A) drew 1-1
07.05.22 v Western Suburbs (H) won 4-0
21.05.22 v Miramar Rangers (A) drew 2-2
28.05.22 v Havelock North Wanderers (H) won 10-0
11.06.22 v North Wellington (H) won 3-1
25.06.22 v Wellington United (A) won 4-0
02.07.22 v Petone (H) won 5-0
16.07.22 v Wellington Phoenox (H) lost 0-3
24.07.22 v Napier City Rovers (A) won 5-2
06.08.22 v Waterside Karori (H) won 2-0
14.08.22 v Western Suburbs (A) won 11-1

CURRENT FORM - CHATHAM CUP
14.05.22 v Seatoun (A) won 8-0
06.06.22 v Whanganui Athletic (A) won 5-0
18.06.22 v North Wellington (A) won 6-1
10.07.22 v Napier City Rovers (A) won 4-0
30.07.22 v Cashmere Technical (H) won 3-2

GOALSCORERS
Gianni Bouzoukis - 12
Jack-Henry Sinclair - 12
Kailan Gould - 6
Conor Gaul - 5
Jesse Randall - 5
Ben Mata - 3
Tor Davenport-Petersen 3
Jaga Scott-Greenfield 2
Lukas Hadaikas - 2
Justin Gulley - 1
Alex Palezevic - 1

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