Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 20 May 2023
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC U23 produced a dominant second half performance to overcome their Manurewa AFC U23 counterparts 3-1 in round 10 of the Lotto NRFL U-23 Premiership Division on Saturday afternoon at the Croatian Cultural Club.
The City youngsters have started slowly once again falling behind inside the opening two minutes after failing to deal with an incoming free-kick from out wide to allow Caleb Prasad to convert from inside the box.
The early goal served as a wake-up call for Valerio Raccuglia’s men who started to play with more urgency as both sides have created a number opportunities in front of goal before Jeremy Foo levelled the scores from a free-kick on the half hour mark.
Despite playing in difficult, wet conditions and against a strong wind in the second half, the young Navy Blues kept pushing forward searching for openings in the final third and their efforts were rewarded in the 59th minute as a fantastic through ball by Jesse Gage caused some confusion in the Manurewa defence leading to an own goal by Jasdep Basra.
After taking the lead City had full control of the proceedings and they sealed the victory late in the match courtesy of Stipe Ukich.
Although pleased with the win, Raccuglia believes there is still plenty of room for improvement.
"We created a lot of chances again, and we will need to be better at converting them.
“Also at times we moved the ball far to slowly, we have too be quicker in our movement and transition but overall I’m happy with the boys.
“We just have to keep working and improving and the results will keep coming,” said the Auckland City FC U23 coach.
The young Navy Blues will play Manukau United in Round 11 of the competition next Saturday.
Lotto NRFL U-23 Premier Division Round 10
Saturday, 20 May 2023
Croatian Cultural Club, Te Atatu South
Auckland City FC U23: 3 (Jeremy FOO 30’, Jasdep BASRA - OG 59’, Stipe UKICH 90’)
Manurewa AFC U23: 1 (Caleb PRASAD 2’)
AC: 18 Nicolas EVANS (GK) 3 Karthik KUMAR, 5. Mario YUGOVICH, 6. Riley SEXTON, (19. Jesse BURGE 60’) 7. Stipe UKICH, 10. Caleb MOOSBALLY, (9. Samuel CLEGG, 57’) 12. Jeremy FOO, 14. Jesse GAGE, (17. Oscar DUFFY, 60’), 16. Petram HASSANIAN, (8. Takuya IWATA, 57’) , 21. Adam BELL, 22. Rayan TAYEB (c)
SUBS NOT USED : 1. Binath Sanithu PERERA (GK)
COACH: Valerio RACCUGLIA
ASSISTANT COACH: Alfie ROGERS
TEAM MANAGER: Dinesh CHAND
v Auckland United, Mon 5 June 2023, KO: 3:00 NZT