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History made as City reach first ever Chatham Cup final

Words: ACFC Media

Monday 22 August 2022

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC is through to its first ever Chatham Cup final after a 3-1 semi-final win over Wellington Olympic at a packed Kiwitea Street on Sunday.

First half goals by Dylan Manickum and Joe Lee laid the foundation for Albert Riera's team only for Jesse Randall to halve the deficit with a well taken goal ten minutes after half time.

Auckland City FC survived a barrage of Olympic attacks in the second half but the match was decided when substitute Emiliano Tade scored a brilliant lobbed goal midway through the action to restore City's two-goal cushion.

The day was made special by the celebration of Central United FC's 60th anniversary with Kiwitea Street resplendent in pockets of dark blue and yellow shirted juniors and seniors in what was the biggest crowd of the season.

They were treated to an at times excellent performance by the newly crowned Oceania champions with Riera opting to push extra players forward and coax Olympic into a high press before playing through or over the top of their defence.

But it was a set piece that opened the scoring when Manickum was sent clear to tap past Basalaj in a repeat of a move that helped City beat AS Tefana in the 2012 OFC Champions League final in Papeete ten years ago.

Olympic spent large periods without the ball but received vociferous backing from their travelling supporters who added colour, vibrancy and passion to an enjoyable day out.

When Randall punished a City defence for backing off too far the game hung in the balance again and Olympic enjoyed their best spell of the game with City forced to defend a series of corners and set pieces.

Conor Tracey came to City's rescue several times including one save he tipped onto the face of the crossbar. Despite Olympic's best efforts it was Tade who had the last say in proceedings cleverly lobbing Basalaj for his 137th club goal.

Riera reflected on a pleasing 90 minutes and recognised the occasion of Central United FC's anniversary, his team's phenomenal efforts after playing six games in 16 days.

"I've lost words to describe these players, our staff and supporters, everyone. What they've done so far is very hard to describe after how much training and playing games they've done - the players were knackered at the end.

"The last time we played was only three days ago in the OFC Champions League final and having that performance today is beyond words and I couldn't be happier.

"When I'm happy, I like sharing secrets, so here's one I want to share. We tried something different today, in possession and out of possession.

"It didn't work at training, we had 11 versus 11, and it didn't work. The team that were on the ball were playing through the other team every time.

"And I went to Cam Howieson and other senior players and said if that's not working then we won't do it and they said to me, no, we want to try it.

"That shows you the character of those players. So, imagine that in a game of this calibre, and they did it today brilliantly - it was exceptional, I'm lost for words.

"It's fantastic to bring a victory to Auckland City FC and Central United FC. I've been part of both clubs in the past as a player and the values and principles that these clubs represent are also in me.

"These are things we abide by these ideas and it's great to give this victory and these emotions to everyone in the positive sense of what this means. I'm happy and proud of Auckland City FC and Central United FC," Riera said.

Auckland City FC's next match is on Wednesday 31 August 2022 when they take on Western Springs at Seddon Field in a Northern League catch up fixture. The match kicks off at 7.30pm NZDT.

Ends

Match Result
Chatham Cup Semi-Final
Sunday 21 August 2022
Auckland City FC 3 (Dylan MANICKUM 10', Joe LEE 45'+1', Emiliano TADE 68')
Wellington Olympic 1 (Jesse RANDALL 54')
HT: 2-0.

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c), 8. Gerard GARRIGA (19. Liam GILLION 77'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES (17. Reid DRAKE 69'), 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Aidan CAREY, 16. Joe LEE (20. Emiliano TADE 60').

SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 4. Christian GRAY.

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

OTHER RESULT - CHATHAM CUP SEMI-FINAL

SATURDAY 20 AUGUST 2022
Eastern Suburbs 1-0 Hamilton Wanderers

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