Words: ACFC Media
Friday 27 April 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC is ready to step up and find a winning edge in Sunday's OFC Champions League semi-final second leg, says coach Ramon Tribulietx.
"This is the biggest game of the season so far, there's no doubt about it," he said.
"This game is going to be very difficult against a very good side and its important we understand how we have to manage to play our game within the tactical situation they set up with out there."
Auckland City FC have had the upper hand in matches with Team Wellington defeating the former New Zealand champions 1-0 in the ISPS Handa Premiership grand final on 1 April.
There have been two 0-0 draws in both domestic and regional competitions alongside the visitor's 3-1 success in the Charity Cup opener on the first day of the season.
LIVE STREAM - Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
LIVE STREAM | OFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI FINAL 2nd LEG— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) April 27, 2018
Catch the all the action live as the #NavyBlues take on Team Wellington at Kiwitea Street on Sunday 29 April 2018.
Match kicks-off at 12.30pm NZST#AUCWLG#StrengthinUnity
With neither side unfamiliar with the other's tactical nuances, Tribulietx knows Sunday's game is likely to once again be tight. He also complimented the sea-change his adversary Jose Figueira has signalled at Team Wellington during his tenure.
"We know each other very well and know how to counter our respective strategies and that's made opportunities very hard to produce for both teams.
"Jose has definitely prepared a very well constructed team, it uses a different idea than before and it works well for them.
"Team Wellington have players today that are technically better than previously and they can keep the ball more effectively than before.
"But as with any approach it is a different style with its share of pros and cons," he said.
One player who has stood out in the latter part of the season is former Navy Blues attacking midfielder Nathaneal Hailemariam.
But Tribulietx warned there was more to Sunday's clash than simply stopping one player - there were a number of key aspects that he wanted to see improve on the day.
"Nati has matured a lot as a player and is a naturally dangerous player and he's performed well this season.
"But regardless of our strategic approach for dealing with the individual elements it is also important that we understand how to counter-attack Team Wellington's attacking strategy much better than we did last time.
"In the last match we regained the ball in their half often and I believe we coped well enough when we ended deep in our own half.
MATCH PROGRAMME - Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
PROGRAMME | Another major showdown between New Zealand clubs @AucklandCity_FC & @TeamWelly is on the cards this Sunday. Take a peek at the programme & make sure you get down to Kiwitea.https://t.co/AfxzkTBPIo— OFC Champions League (@OFCChampsLeague) April 27, 2018
"One area we definitely need to improve on is to be better on the ball - dominating the ball is our bread and butter," he said.
Auckland City FC go into Sunday's match with a full strength squad, fresh, focused and eager to do well.
"We understand this is the biggest competition in Oceania and we always want to give a good account of ourselves and be as competitive as possible.
"Our preparation has been good and the players know what is at stake look forward to playing in games like these," he said.
If the match ends in a 0-0 draw, 30 minutes extra time will be played. If the match remains 0-0 at the end of extra time the winner will be decided on penalty kicks.
If the match ends in a score draw after 90 minutes, Team Wellington will advance to the final on the away goals rule.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students and pensioners while children under 16 get in free.
The match kicks off at 12.30pm NZST at Kiwitea Street.
OFC Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg
Sunday 29 April 2018
Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 12.30pm NZST
AUC: 1. Enaut Zubikarai (GK), 2. Liam Graham, 5. Angel Berlanga (c), 6. Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, 7. Cam Howieson, 9. Darren White, 12. Kris Bright, 13. Alfie Rogers, 14. Cole Peverley, 15. Dan Morgan, 17. Reid Drake, 19. Micah Lea'alafa, 20. Emiliano Tade, 22. Harshae Raniga, 24. Conor Tracey (GK), 25. Owen Parker-Price, 26. Callum McCowatt, 27. Dalton Wilkins.
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Assistant coach: Ivan Vicelich
Children U-16 FREE
Auckland City FC Season Ticket holders gain access to the match as per club ticket guidelines.
v Al Ahly, Tangier, Feb 1 2023, KO: 8pm local