Nix sink as Navy Blues reignite campaign

Words: ACFC Media

Sunday 12 February 2017

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are back in the minor premiership hunt after a 2-0 win over the Wellington Phoenix U-20 at Kiwitea Street today.

Fabrizio Tavano opened the scoring with an absolute screamer that left goalkeeper Oli Sail motionless as it ripped into the back of the net on 9 minutes.

Within minutes the Navy Blues wasted a golden opportunity to double their lead when Takuya Iwata latched onto a through ball before teeing up Ryan De Vries.

De Vries, who has scored just three goals in this campaign, somehow put the ball wide in front of an open goal with Sail already beaten.

Referee Nick Waldron then went off injured and was replaced by the fourth official.

Sail then denied Tavano with a beautiful left hand save at the base of the post with 20 minutes gone.

The Navy Blues started the second half at a high tempo creating a number of half chances without troubling Sail.

But that all changed when a long ball by Darren White sent Joao Moreira clear only for the Portuguese striker to be taken down in the penalty area for a clear penalty.

Clayton Lewis stepped up and sent Sail the wrong to double the lead and offer coach Ramon Tribulietx an opportunity to withdraw Albert Riera for Harry Edge.

Auckland City FC dominated the match almost totally but once again struggled to convert chances into goals with the Wellington Phoenix able to limit the damage to just two.

Sarpreet Singh came closest for the Wellington Phoenix when he tried a speculative effort that required Zubikarai to tip over the bar.

Sail then denied Joao Moreira from point blank range with arguably the save of the game.

Elsewhere, Team Wellington came from two goals down to thrash Waitakere United 7-2 in the capital. Keegan Linderboom and Jake Butler gave the visitors the perfect start but a hat-trick from Ben Harris and further goals by Gary Moretti, Tom Jackson, Nic Zambrano and Leo Villa rounded off an extraodinary win for the defending champions.

Canterbury United also came from behind to beat Hawke's Bay United in Christchurch. Ross Wilcox opened the scoring for the Bay just before halftime but a red card for Fin Milne put the Bay on the backfoot. Justin Chang equalised midway through the second half and the winner with five minutes to play through the talismanic Aaron Clapham.

Down south, Eastern Suburbs AFC snatched three vital points when Jordan Vale notched a winner to hand the Lilywhites a 1-0 victory.

In Nelson, Tasman United climbed off the bottom of the table with their first home win of the season against Hamilton Wanderers courtesy of an early strike by Hajdari.

Team Wellington and Eastern Suburbs AFC share top spot on 27 points each while Waitakere United slip to third trailing by two points. Auckland City FC's win lifts them into fourth level on points with Canterbury United but ahead on goal difference. Hawke's Bay United drop to sixth but remain in the playoff chase on 23 points.

Ends

Match Result
Stirling Sports Premiership
Sunday 12 February 2017
Auckland City FC 1 (Fabrizio Tavano 9', Clayton Lewis 53'-pen)
Wellington Phoenix 0
Halftime: 1-0.

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