Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 27 September 2017
Picture: Getty Images via FIFA
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC will face Hyundai A League side Wellington Phoenix in a pre-season friendly in the capital on Saturday.
The hastily arranged match slots in behind Sunday's friendly with Canterbury United at Auckland Grammar's Normanby Road artificial surfaces.
The last time the two teams met in a friendly game it ended in a 2-2 draw.
The Navy Blues beat the Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in another friendly match in 2013 when a Sam Burfoot strike settled the affair midway through the second half at Kiwitea Street.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx was pleased to secure a preparatory match with a Wellington Phoenix side three months into their build-up and one that had dispatched ISPS Handa Premiership holders Team Wellington 8-1 last week.
A double by Andrija Kaludjerovic and goals from Gui Finkler, Matt Ridenton, Roy Krishna, Adam Parkhouse', Logan Rogerson, Dario Vidosic cancelled out Angus Kilkolly's third minute opener during the rout.
"A game with the Wellington Phoenix is set at another level up. It is always good to see how we perform against this kind of opposition, the players can get a taste of something similar to what it will be in Abu Dhabi, it may be a bit early for our state of form but we are happy to take on the opportunity.
"We want to see our ideas being implemented against a fitter team and how we cope with those difficult situations that will pop up, like transition to attack when we get tired, when we have to defend on a low block," he said.
With two games in two days Tribulietx confirmed he would use two different playing elevens.
"100 percent we will use two different line-ups. It is a very good opportunity to give everyone 90 minutes against good opposition in both encounters and it gives us the opportunity to see the new ones perform within our ideas," he said.
New Wellington Phoenix coach Darije Kalezic has brought in seven new players Lewis Italiano, Scott Galloway, Goran Paracki, Dario Vidosic, Daniel Mullen, Andrija Kaluderovic and Ali Abbas.
"We have had a first look at the new look Wellington Phoenix and we will try to understand their general ideas as we move through this week.
"I think the big difference will be in the fitness side of things. They look like they're trying to hold onto the ball a little bit more, they implement a few rotation movements in the middle of the park and have the ability of those imports in the front third.
"The Phoenix have a very talented front line with Krishna, Finkler and Kaludjerovic and Paracki is a very experienced holding midfielder.
"They look like they are trying to regain possession high up the pitch when they can or they otherwise retreat on a low block of 4-4-1-1 and stay more patient.
"This will test our playing out from the back against a very fit team and tune up our ideas when defending high up and on a low block," Tribulietx explained.
With Team Wellington handed their biggest ever defeat at the hands of the fulltime professionals, Tribulietx said it was a difficult time for any side to face the Wellington Phoenix.
"It was a very early game for Team Wellington and from what I see they were missing some players. It is not easy at this time of the year to take on a professional team that has been training for over three months," he said.
The only injury concern for the Navy Blues ahead of the weekend is skipper Angela Berlanga who may well miss both matches.
The match kicks off at 2.15pm.
Saturday 30 September 2017
Wellington Phoenix v Auckland City FC
Martin Luckie Park, Berhampore
WPX (from): Lewis Italiano (GK), Oli Sail (GK); Scott Galloway, Andrew Durante, Daniel Mullen, Marco Rossi, Dylan Fox, Ali Abbas, Tom Doyle, Alex Rufer, Matt Ridenton, Goran Paracki, Michael McGlinchey, Adam Parkhouse, Dario Vidosic, Roy Krishna, Logan Rogerson, Gui Finkler, Sarpreet Singh, Andrija Kaludjerovic, Hamish Watson.
Coach: Darije Kalezic
AUC (from): Enaut Zubikarai (GK), Danyon Drake (GK), Conor Tracey (GK); Marko Dordevic, Mario Bilen, Takuya Iwata, Dan Morgan, Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, Cam Howieson, Albert Riera, Ryan De Vries, Owen Parker-Price, Dalton Wilkins, Callum McCowatt, Harry Edge, Liam Graham, Kris Bright, Emiliano Tade, Reid Drake, Harshae Raniga, Dae Wook Kim, Fabrizio Tavano, Alfie Rogers, Darren White, Micah Lea'alafa.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Thu 30 Nov 2023, Al Dhaid, Dubai, UAE, KO: 6.00pm local