Words: ACFC Media
Monday 12 March 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC skipper Angel Berlanga says its important to not get carried away with the Navy Blues recent successes.
The Navy Blues look set to retain the ISPS Handa Premiership minor title and the home semi-final that comes with it while also ensuring a home quarter-final in the OFC Champions League after winning their group at Trusts Arena recently.
Berlanga, 31, is now second in the Navy Blues list of all-time appearances for the club but he's adamant he and his team-mates must stay focused as the sharp end of the season looms.
"It was good to get a 1-0 win over Eastern Suburbs AFC in the ISPS Handa Premiership and reach the quarter finals of the OFC Champions League.
"To finish top of the group in Oceania and in domestic football gives you home advantage for knock-out games in both competitions so you have your supporters right behind you which is very helpful.
"But nothing is decided yet. We have managed to progress in both competitions but we must take each game one at a time," Berlanga told www.aucklandcityfc.com
Berlanga now has 181 matches under his belt for the club with six goals and alongside record goalscorer Emiliano Tade believes there is more to come in the way of success for Auckland City FC.
"Emiliano plays with a lot of heart and desire. When he gets into the box he is unstoppable and I'm proud of him getting his 101st goal for the club.
"You never think about numbers when you play. I always think like every game is my first so I am always excited to wear our colours and to wear the Auckland City FC badge on my chest.
"Its always special to play for this club. I wasn't aware I had gone past Ivan Vicelich in terms of games for the club.
"I've been lucky with injuries over the years to have had so few and play a lot of games but if thats the case then its a special achievement because Ivan was a top quality player.
"There are a lot of people to acknowledge for playing so many games - Ramon has helped me improve a lot as a player and so have my team-mates," he said.
In 2014, Berlanga received the only major injury of his career when Samuela Drudru halved him in a challenge in the OFC Champions League match with Nadi. Drudru, who has since apologised for the challenge, played for Lautoka in their recent 1-0 loss to Auckland City FC.
"Football is a tough game and I've always been of the opinion that it can be physical but you just shake hands, get on with things and move to the next challenge.
"What happened with Drudru is in the past and its all forgotten as far as I'm concerned. Its part of football it was an ugly chapter but you get on with life and I'm looking forward to what the rest of this season could bring us," Berlanga said.
The Navy Blues next match is their final ISPS Handa Premiership regular season clash of the campaign. They take on Wellington Phoenix reserves at QBE Stadium on 17 March at 4.35pm NZST.
Season ticket holders are advised to keep checking www.aucklandcityfc.com for updates about season tickets and access to the venue for this match.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 11 March 2018
Auckland City FC 1 (Callum McCowatt 82')
Eastern Suburbs AFC 0
AC: Zubikarai (GK); Bilen, Berlanga (c), Morgan, White; Howieson, Riera, Parker-Price (Lea'alafa 62'); Tade, McCowatt, Tavano.
Subs: Tracey (GK), Iwata, Hudson-Wihongi, Peverley.
Sun 30 Sep 2018, Auckland Grammar, 11.30am