Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 17 March 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC are ISPS Handa Premiership minor title winners after two goals by Emiliano Tade ensures a comfortable 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at QBE Stadium today.
The Navy Blues piled on the pressure in a first half full of chances with Tade eventually breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute with a cool finish past Oliver Sail.
Tade was in the limelight again just before halftime after he let rip with a superb effort that found its way into the top left corner of the Wee Nix net to all but secure the minor title and qualification for next year's OFC Champions League.
The Argentine striker took his personal goal tally with the Navy Blues to 103 and wins the ISPS Handa Premiership golden boot for the second time in his career.
While Tade was busy adding to his mountain of goals, the Navy Blues defence stood firm as they produced yet another cleansheet.
Auckland City FC have now gone an incredible 1,007 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions, some 11 games in a row.
In the ISPS Handa Premiership, Auckland City FC have not conceded a goal in eight consecutive matches of which Enaut Zubikarai has played the entire 748 minutes.
Auckland City FC coach, Ramon Tribulietx told www.aucklandcityfc.com he is very happy with how the season went and is pleased the team played the same way throughout the season.
AUDIO - Ramon Tribulietx
“Winning the minor title is the product of all the effort, all the hours of what we’ve all put in," he said, "the minor title to me is still the most important title of all because of what it represents over the course of the season.
"But we're focused and now we’re going into the knock-out stages and from there we want to win it," he said.
Auckland City FC's run to the minor title saw them lose just two games all season - a 3-1 reverse to Team Wellington and a 3-0 defeat to Tasman United brought about by a clerical error that saw the club penalised for fielding an ineligible player in late December.
Tribulietx said the resilience and consistency of his squad was key to overcoming those setbacks.
“We only lost one game in a competitive sense and that was the first game of the season then we lost three points because of an administrative mistake - over 18 games that is a good record.
“We’ve lost a lot of players on the way like Dae Wook Kim and Ryan De Vries, but the team keeps playing the same way, it keeps competing in a very similar way, regardless of whether it’s 2011, 2016 or even 2018," he said.
On today’s match, Tribulietx admitted there was pressure to win the match and retain the title.
“We played a great first half today, we had a bunch of chances, we probably should’ve had three or four by half time but that’s life sometimes.”
“In the second half, their pressure got to us a bit, and we lost a bit of composure and so there was pressure in the match today to get the result.”
Next week, the Navy Blues will take on Eastern Suburbs AFC at Kiwitea Street in the semi-finals in a derby re-run.
“It’s a one off game and we’re playing at home but we are playing a very good side. Eastern Suburbs AFC have been very competitive both times we played them and there will be pressure.
“But that’s the way it is in football - we want to play these games for everything that it brings - these are the games everyone wants to be involved in."
ISPS Handa Premiership
Saturday 17 March 2018
QBE Stadium, Albany
Wellington Phoenix 0
Auckland City FC 2 (Emiliano Tade 36', 42')
AC: 1. Eńaut Zubikarai (GK) 3. Takuya Iwata, 5. Angel Berlanga (c), 6. Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, 7. Cameron Howieson, 8. Albert Riera, 11. Fabrizio Tavano (17. Reid Drake 84’), 15. Daniel Morgan, 19. Micah Lea’alafa (27. Dalton Wilkins 89’), 20. Emiliano Tade, 26. Callum McCowatt (25. Owen Parker-Price 81’)
Substitutes not used: 24. Conor Tracey (RGK), 21. Harry Edge.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium