Unbeaten run no burden for Navy Blues

Words: ACFC Media

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Picture: Phototek

AUCKLAND, New Zealand - The weight of carrying an undefeated record into the penultimate round of the OFC Champions League is no burden according to Ramon Tribulietx.

Auckland City FC have gone 23 matches without a loss in Oceania's premier club competition and at the same time strung together a record breaking run of 10 consecutive matches without conceding a goal.

The club's overall record since January 18, 2018, looks more impressive with the Navy Blues not conceding a goal for the past 14 competitive matches in all competitions. 

With the season headed into an exciting climax, Tribulietx downplayed the sequence and was happy to place his players resilience into context for anyone wondering if it was a burden. 

The last team to score first in any competitive match with the Navy Blues were UAE champions Al Jazira in last year's FIFA Club World Cup playoff.

"Conceding a goal is a part of the game," he said, "So any team that goes a goal down has a challenge to get back up, you expect that and you prepare for it anyway. 

"We always prepare well in all fronts and we have to be mentally ready for any situation that a game can throw up, including conceding.

"Most of the players at our club have been in these sorts of massive games quite often and in a variety of different circumstances.

"Regardless (of our defensive record), we have to make sure we remain competitive in these games with Team Wellington," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com

Preparation for the match remains on track though one minor setback saw the club fail to sign Jordan Vale from Eastern Suburbs AFC.

Vale, who was a standout figure for the Lilywhites in their historic run to the ISPS Handa Premiership semi-finals, was set to join the club two weeks ago but the switch fell through at the last moment.

"Jordan's transfer didn't happen due to NZF's interpretation of the transfer regulations.

"Jordan is a very good player and could have been an important addition for us.

"He is very versatile and can play a number of positions as we saw during the ISPS Handa Premiership season - he would have added competitiveness in our midfield especially.

"But that is life and we still have a good squad that we're happy with and we will carry on," he added.

Auckland City FC is undefeated in 23 OFC Champions League matches dating back to 3 May 2014 when AS Pirae defeated the Navy Blues 2-1 in the semi-final, 2nd Leg, clash at Stade Pater, Tahiti. The run has lasted 3 years, 11 months and 13 days (1,444 days total).

Auckland City FC's longest undefeated run in the OFC Champions League is 27 matches. That run started with a 1-0 win over AS Manu Ura on 28 March 2008 and ended on 31 March 2012 when Amicale defeated Auckland City FC 1-0 in Port Vila in a group stage match. The run lasted 4 years and 3 days (1,464 days total).

Auckland City FC face Team Wellington in the OFC Champions league semi-finals first leg on Sunday 22 April 2018 at David Farrington Park.

The match kicks off at 1pm.


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