Minor title beckons

Words: ACFC Media

Friday 16 March 2018

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The Navy Blues are only one point of away from securing OFC Champions League qualification and the ISPS Handa minor premiership title for a fifth consecutive season.

Standing in their way is a youthful Wellington Phoenix side, who will be looking to provide a statement in their final match of the regular season.

The last time these two sides met, the Navy Blues won the match in convincing fashion with a 4-0 thrashing over the Weenix.

Emiliano Tade came away with a brace in the match, with Daewook Kim and Fabrizio Tavano also finding the back of the net.

Auckland City FC coach, Ramon Tribulietx told www.aucklandcityfc.com it’s all about the mindset and focusing on what they’ve been focusing on all season.

“We’re not going to change anything, we’re going to go for the game as what we would normally do and try to play a good game and compete well.”

“We understand that we have to get our result and win back the minor premiership title.”

Tribulietx is also aware of the talent the Wellington Phoenix Reserves currently hold within their squad against the backdrop of an incredible defensive record.

Auckland City FC have kept 10 consecutive cleansheets in all competitions (ISPS Handa Premiership and OFC Champions League) for a total of 918 minutes since 13 January, 2018.

“I don't pay too much attention to these sorts of statistics and we have to acknowledge the Wee Nix bring that youth and that energy that the young players bring to the party so it’ll be a difficult game, they’ll want to impress.”

“We have to understand that they’ll be a handful and we have to respect the fact that these guys are talented.”

"They can catch you off guard on one of those days and create a big problem for us, so we need to make sure that we are switched on and we compete as we have competed so far.”

Wellington Phoenix reserves have often risen to the occasion when playing the Navy Blues. In fact, Auckland City are one of the few teams the Wee Nix have beaten twice since joining the league in 2014.

This season, the Wellington Phoenix Reserves have struggled to make an impact with only one win in their last five league outings.

Last season, the Wee Nix defeated the Navy Blues 1-0 in the capital with the only goal of the game scored by former Navy Blues player Logan Rogerson.

Since 13 January 2018, Auckland City FC have kept 10 consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.

When facing each other, the Wellington Phoenix often rise to the standard set and have caused problems in the past to the Navy Blues, twice beating them in 2015(3-1), and in 2016(1-0).

The match will kickoff at 4:45pm at QBE Stadium.

Ends

Match Details
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 17 March 2018
Wellington Phoenix v Auckland City FC
QBE Stadium, Albany
Kick-off: 4.45pm NZST
#WPvAC
#ISPSHandPrem 

AC (from): Zubikarai (GK), Iwata, Rogers, White, Morgan, Berlanga (c), Bilen, Hudson-Wihongi, Raniga, Tavano, R Drake, Peverley, Riera, Parker-Price, McCowatt, Wilkins, Tade, H Edge, Tracey (GK), Graham, Bright, Dordevic, Lea'alafa, Howieson (New Zealand international call-up).

Coach: Ramon Tribulietx 

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