Berlanga ruled out with injury

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 29 January 2017

Picture: Phototek

HONG KONG – Auckland City captain Angel Berlanga faces a stint on the sidelines after sustaining a broken nose in the Navy Blues’ 1-0 win over FC Seoul on Saturday.

Berlanga met the forearm of a Korean opponent as he rose for a challenge late in the upset win over the K-League champs. He was quickly substituted as medical staff assessed the damage and Auckland City closed out the match to claim another big scalp.

He underwent surgery on the nasal fracture and cartilage damage on Sunday morning (local time) and was discharged late in the afternoon.

While in hospital Berlanga was visited by both the CEO of event organisers Proevent, Julian Kam, and the Chairman of host club Kitchee SC, Ken Ng, who gifted the Navy Blues captain a Kitchee shirt and wished him well for his recovery.

Facing at least a few weeks out, Berlanga will miss Tuesday night’s final of the Nike Lunar New Year Cup and could miss a large portion of Auckland’s remaining schedule this season given the congested fixture list facing the club upon their return from Hong Kong.

He should be back in time for the business end of the Stirling Sports Premiership and group stages of the OFC Champions League, if not much sooner.

“It’s a big loss but hopefully we can reduce the time he is out,” said Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx.

“Sometimes with modern technology we can shorten the recovery time and then we’ll see.

“At the end of the day we’re still a couple of months away from the final games so we’ve got plenty of time.”

The loss of his skipper and mainstay of a defence that has only conceded six goals in 11 national league matches this season is undoubtedly a big blow but Tribulietx has faith in his squad and systems to cope.

“We’ve got a good squad. We’ve got players in there that will need to step up and I’m sure they will. We’ve been rotating most of our players and they have the understanding to perform within our style and structure. We’ll put out 11 players and we’ll be very competitive with or without Angel.”

Auckland City face Kitchee SC in the final of the Nike Lunar New Year Cup at 5.30pm (10.30pm NZDT) on Tuesday.





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