Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 1 October 2016
Picture: Phototek NZ
Auckland City FC won their first pre-season match on New Zealand soil after a 2-1 win over arch-rivals Waitakere United at Westlake Boys High School today.
With a squad depleted by injury and international call-ups, Ramon Tribulietx drafted Sean Cooper and Youssef Khalisy into the squad from the Junior Navy Blues.
The Navy Blues dominated the first half with 72% possession but there were clear signs Waitakere United looked an improved outfit from the previous season.
Despite giving up the lionshare of the ball, Waitakere still probed the Navy Blues defence for openings.
Auckland City FC made four changes at the break with Danyon Drake, Reid Drake, Alfie Rogers and Albert Riera making way for Khalisy, Jacob Spoonley, Dae Wook Kim and Takuya Iwata.
Domination of the ball continued but Spoonley was called upon to make two good saves the first from Ethan Galbraith the other a Dylan Stansfield effort.
Waitakere United's resolve finally broke when Ryan De Vries finished a beautifully crafted move, accepting Joao Moreira's deft pass before scoring.
The roof fell in for United when substitute goalkeeper Louie Caunter watched in horror as his wayward pass was vollied straight into an empty net just a minute later.
Stansfield pulled on back 15 minutes later after powering home a header from a corner.
While the scoreline looks close the margin of comfort was more than that suggests.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx was pleased with elements of the performance.
"We've lost a few players to the national team so there was no problem bringing in Youssef from the youth team.
"There is a clear route for youth players to the first team now and Youssef did very well in the 45 minutes he had in the second half," he said.
Auckland City FC's next pre-season friendly is away to Eastern Suburbs at Bill McKinlay Park, Mount Wellington, tomorrow.
Saturday 1 October
Waitakere United 1 (Ethan Galbraith 80')
Auckland City FC 2 (Ryan De Vries 65', Emiliano Tade 66')
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium