Old pals go head to head

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 11 November 2022

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Two former Wellington Phoenix go head to head when Albert Riera's Auckland City FC collides with Paul Ifill's Christchurch United in the National League Championship tomorrow at 1.30pm.

Riera and Ifill were team-mates at the A-League club for one season when Riera made the switch in 2012 and the City coach is under no illusions how tough the game will be.

"We are fully aware of the threats Christchurch United bring - I watched their game with Miramar Rangers and I thought United had a very good game.

"They managed to score three goals and I think they have very dangerous players, they're very good in one v one situations and they're very capable of creating chances.

"They also have a lot of mobility and I've talked to our players all week about how hard this will be.

"I know Paul ifill well and he will want a strong performance from his team on their home ground. I was a team-mate of Paul's in his last season as a professional player.

"Paul, in my view, is one of the best imports ever into the A League as a player.

"I could see right away why he was so highly regarded as a player. He had great quality and an ability to go past players and finish with both feet which is a very rare quality.

"I was very very lucky to share a dressing room with Paul as a player and now as coaches we are going to share the touchline.

"Paul has a huge contribution to make to football especially with young players and I think with his experience and quality, not only as a former player and now a coach, but as a person, he will always have huge respect.

"He's always trying to help people around him," Riera said.

Christchurch United gave Miramar Rangers a 3-0 thumping at David Farrington Park last week and look to have rediscovered the form that saw them win the Southern League on the final day of the winter campaign but Riera is adamant about his team's prospects.

"For us the objective is clear - we have to go to Christchurch and keep winning games. We will try to impose ourselves on the game and try to achieve what we want to achieve by winning another game.

"Our aim is to make the top two and be part of the grand final. There are three games left of the league, its been a massive season and I'm always very very proud of the group of players we have.

"We've pushed them to the limit and they always keep going and they'll do that to the last minute of every game. They show it in their training sessions and they have this massive determination and commitment which is something I believe we have tio be amazed about.

"In my experience, it is always very rare to find a squad of players with such massive personality and I'm pleased with what I'm seeing from them and we're ready to go.

"There are no easy games in this league but we're determined to go there and get three points," he said.

In other action, Cashmere Technical travel to Keith Hay Park to take on third placed Auckland United at 3.00pm who sit just two points behind City. Cashmere lack no incentive to grab a win which would see them leapfrog United into the playoff picture if results at the top also go their way.

Melville United will fancy their chances when they hit the capital to take on Miramar Rangers at David Farrington Park at 3.30pm.

Keeping an eye on the top should be easy with Wellington Phoenix hosting league leaders Wellington Olympic at Fraser Park on Sunday at 12.00pm.

In the final match of Round 7, Napier City Rovers host Birkenhead United at Bluewater Stadium in Napier at 2.00pm on Sunday.

Christchurch United's game with the Navy Blues kicks off at 1.30pm on Saturday and is live streamed.


Match Details
National League Championship
Saturday 12 November 2022
Christchurch United v Auckland City FC
Christchurch Football Centre
Kick-off: 1.30pm NZDT

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Gerard GARRIGA, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Ryan DE VRIES, 12. Sam BROTHERTON, 13. Takuya IWATA, 14. Jordan VALE, 16. Joe LEE, 17. Reid DRAKE, 20. Emiliano TADE, 22. Adam BELL, 24. Cam BROWN (GK).


The match will be live streamed at the Kiwitea Street clubrooms which are open on Saturday 12 November 2022.

If Dylan Manickum and Jordan Vale play every game to the end of the calendar year, including a potential grand final, they will both cross the 100 game barrier for Auckland City FC.

Manickum has played 96 games and scored 39 goals and is eighth in the list of the club's all-time top scorers behind Emiliano Tade (217/143), Grant Young (128/66), Ryan De Vries (143/65), Keryn Jordan (80/62), Paul Urlovic (115/51), Manel Exposito (68/46) and Joao Moreira (70/43).

Jordan Vale has played 96 games and scored seven goals for the club.

Takuya Iwata is included in the squad for the first time since City's 4-0 win over Takapuna back in June. Iwata has played two games this season and played 141 games and scored two goals in his City career.

The club was formed as a merger of several Christchurch clubs in the early 1970s.

It was one of the founding clubs of the NZ National Soccer League in 1970. Over the years the club have won six National League Titles, six English Cups and six Chatham Cups, including the two famous doubles in 1975 and in 1991.

The Club produced a number of great players including 44 who played for All Whites. Steve Sumner and Ryan Nelsen were the captains of NZ National teams at the 1982 and 2010 World Cups. All these legend players wore blue and white uniform of United in the prime of their careers.

In 1995 association of football reporters recognised Christchurch United as the best NZ club for 1970-1995.

In 2016 Christchurch United cemented the future of the Club after merging with the rapidly growing Christchurch Football Academy (CFA) who were based at the new state-of-the-art Football Centre. The merger between CFA and CUFC in 2016 has reignited the legacy.

Together we share a strong vision and passion for the Club and Academy future development.

Our dream is to establish a modern successful multi-sport club. This club will be based in the state-of-the-art facility, supported by qualified coaches and staff to secure future growth. This will create a family friendly environment for everyone to enjoy.


Paul Ifill played for Millwall, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United before he signed with the Wellington Phoenix as a player prior to the start of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season. Ifill enjoyed a decorated career that included an appearance in an FA Cup Final in 2004 with Millwall and a season in the EPL in 2006. Ifill played in the ISPS Handa Premiership with Tasman United, runs his own Football Academy (Paul Ifill Football Academy) and is now head coach of Christchurch United.

New Zealand born Eddie Wilkinson has made a splash in the National League Championship with a goal in games with three highly fancied sides including Miramar Rangers (won 3-0), Birkenhead United (lost 1-3) and Auckland United (drew 1-1). Wilkinson came through the ranks of the Canterbury United youth system before turning out for Otago University, Canterbury United Dragons and now Christchurch United. Clever on the ball, a good finisher and an unselfish player whose work rate opens up chances for others.

26.03.22 v. Coastal Spirit (H) won 3-2
02.04.22 v. Dunedin City Royals (H) won 4-1
09.04.22 v. Ferrymead Bays (A) won 3-2
16.04.22 v. Nelson Suburbs (H) won 4-0
23.04.22 v. Nomads United (A) won 8-0
29.04.22 v. Selwyn United (H) won 4-0
07.05.22 v. Green Island (A) won 3-1
20.05.22 v. Cashmere Technical (H) won 4-1
29.05.22 v. Mosgiel (A) won 4-0
12.06.22 v. Coastal Spirit (A) won 4-0
25.06.22 v. Dunedin City Royals (A) won 4-3
01.07.22 v. Ferrymead Bays (H) drew 0-0
17.07.22 v. Nelson Suburbs (A) won 5-0
06.08.22 v. Nomads United (H) won 1-0
13.08.22 v. Green Islands (H) won 9-1
20.08.22 v. Cashmere Technical (A) lost 0-1
27.08.22 v. Mosgiel (H) won 10-0

14.05.22 v. Universities (A) won 6-0
03.06.22 v. Ferrymead Bays (A) lost 2-3

02.10.22 v. Birkenhead United (A) lost 1-3
08.10.22 v. Napier City Rovers (H) drew 1-1
15.10.22 v. Auckland United (A) drew 1-1
22.10.22 v. Wellington Phoenix (H) lost 1-3
30.10.22 v. Melville United (H) lost 2-5
06.11.22 v. Miramar Rangers (A) won 3-0

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