Words: ACFC Media
Sunday 4 February 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC hold on to top spot in the ISPS Handa Premiership following a 0-0 draw with champions Team Wellington today.
The goalless draw better suits Auckland City FC in pursuit of the minor premiership title but could've celebrated a victory had either one of two Micah Lea'alafa efforts not been ruled out for offside late in the match.
In a tight affair neither side were able to prise open the other with Fabrizio Tavano's long range effort in the first half the Navy Blues best while Team Wellington created few chances.
Cam Howieson caught the eye with a strong performance in the Navy Blues midfield while there were solid contributions from Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi and skipper Angel Berlanga.
"It was a very very tough game with a very competitive side. It was difficult on a small pitch and Team Wellington went one-on-one with us all over the park and made our style very difficult.
"We managed to reorganise ourselves in the second hald and managed to get a bit more ball. We created some chances in the first half and in the second had two goals called offside.
"This was a tough encounter coming off the three games last week and perhaps we paid a price for that because mentally we were a little bit under where we needed to be.
"The team played well under the circumstances and how we competed. It was going to be a physical game and we did well. We rushed things a little bit and had the ball in the net twice.
"We couldn't build up our game the way we normally do so we were a bit more direct. We have to be happy with the way we played and go on into the next game," Tribulietx said.
Elsewhere, Eastern Suburbs AFC destroyed Wellington Phoenix Reserves 7-1 in the capital to remain within a point of the Navy Blues and level with Team Wellington.
Canterbury United improved their playoff chances after a 2-1 win over Southern United in the South Island derby while Tasman United's hopes of snaring a top four finish remain alive after they disposed of Hawke's Bay United 5-2 in Nelson.
At the other end of the table bottom placed Hamilton Wanderers cut the gap between themselves and the Phoenix to six points with a 2-1 win over Waitakere United. The victory ended Wanderers horror run of 23 consecutive games without a win stretching back to December 2016.
Auckland City FC's next match is away to Hawke's Bay United while Eastern Suburbs AFC are at home to Tasman United with both matches on 11 February. Team Wellington's next game is on 18 February when they host Waitakere United.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 4 February 2018
Auckland City FC 0
Team Wellington 0
AC: Zubikarai (GK), Iwata, Bilen, Berlanga (c), Hudson-Wihongi; Howieson, Tavano, H Edge (R Drake);Lea'alafa, Tade, McCowatt (Rogers)
Subs not used: Tracey (GK), Graham, Wilkins.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Sun 28 Oct 2018, kick-off 2pm NZST