Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 13 March 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Navy Blues left it late but coach Ramon Tribulietx was delighted as his team overcame Eastern Suburbs AFC 1-0 on Sunday.
Tribulietx has guided Auckland City FC to within touching distance of the minor premiership title but said the win over the Lilywhites was one of the toughest of the campaign to date.
"That was a very hard game, very physical, they wanted to go at us and set up a very high attacking press to make it a one-on-one situation all over the pitch.
"They made life tough for us on a small pitch. But once we adapted to that we had some good chances to score in the first 20-25 minutes or so," Tribulietx told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
Eastern Suburbs AFC slipped to fourth place following the 0-0 draw between fellow challengers Canterbury United and Team Wellington. If the Navy Blues do win the minor title, which now looks a stick on, it could set up a re-match between the two on the weekend of March 23-24.
But Tribulietx retained faith that his team could get the job down against a well-drilled Lilywhites set-up.
"They were very physical, very fit and had a freshness in what they did and played direct but once we got through that period of pressure, I knew that chances were going to come for us.
"They played with a back three and that enabled us to play in behind and create more chances and we capitalised on that eventually, albeit a bit late in the day - overall we played well," he said.
The Navy Blues next match is against Wellington Phoenix reserves on March 17 at QBE Stadium at 4.35pm NZST.
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.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Sun 30 Sep 2018, Auckland Grammar, 11.30am