Words: ACFC Media
Friday 16 November 2018
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC's title bid takes another step forward when they host Canterbury United Dragons at Kiwitea Street on Sunday.
The Navy Blues are in a rich vein of form with a 100 percent record after wins over Eastern Suburbs, Team Wellington, Hawke's Bay United and Tasman United.
However, the squad is stretched thin with notable injury absentees Albert Riera and David Browne, while suspension robs Ramon Tribulietx of Fabrizio Tavano. Solomon Islands international Micah Lea'alafa is also likely to miss his second match on the bounce for personal reasons.
Tribulietx is pleased with how his side have adapated to the setbacks and can be happy with how players on the fringes of the squad have seized their opportunities to impress.
But Tribulietx remains measured when he assesses the threat posed by a Canterbury United side desperate to seal a playoff spot.
"Matches with Canterbury United are always thrilling and competitive encounters and today's showdown with Willy Gerdsen's side promises to be no different."
Sunday's challenge presents a different opportunity with Canterbury United a very tough and physical team.
"We are under no illusions of what to expect with high pressing, a lot of physical competitiveness, elements that make our possession style difficult but not impossible to implement."
This demands we step up in our decision making when we have the ball and we need to raise our awareness defensively as they seek to test our structures with crosses from wide areas. Canterbury United have some very good players like Gary Ogilvie, Stephen Hoyle and the youngster Seth Clarke, the latter two especially useful goalscorers.
"I repeat what I said earlier - this will be a very intense ISPS Handa Premiership clash," Tribulietx told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
In National Youth League action, the Junior Navy Blues also host Canterbury United, taking on the Dragons youngsters at the Croatian Club on Saturday 17 November 2018 at 2pm.
The main clash kicks off at 2pm the next day at Kiwitea Street.
ISPS Handa Premiership
Sunday 18 November 2018
Auckland City FC v Canterbury United
Kick-off: 2pm NZST
AC (squad chosen from): 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 2. Hayden McHENERY, 3. Takuya IWATA, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTAK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 9. Javier LOPEZ, 12. Dylan MANICKUM, 13. Alfie ROGERS, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Dan MORGAN, 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Reid DRAKE, 18. Ruben PARKER (GK), 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK).
COACH: Ramon TRIBULIETX
INJURED: Albert RIERA (Knee - one week), David BROWNE (concussion).
SUSPENSION: Fabrizio TAVANO.
UNAVAILABLE: Micah LEA'ALAFA.
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium