Navy Blues fresh to go in Hong Kong

Words: ACFC Media

Thursday 7 February 2019

Picture: Photosport

HONG KONG, China - Refreshed, ready and raring to go - that's the assessment of Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx ahead of today's Tonghai Financial Chinese New Year Cup clash with the Hong Kong XI.

The Navy Blues fell 2-1 to a last minute goal by Roger Guedes two days ago but showed signs the long distance travel and late flight out of Christchurch had taken a toll on a team facing ten matches in the space of 30 days.

Tribulietx sounded disappointed at the end of the Shandong Luneng match but after a chance to analyse what happened, that view is tempered somewhat by the figures his technical staff studied in the aftermath.

"It's interesting the squad is not actually too tired after what we've been through. I felt we were limited in what we were able to give in our performance against Shandong Luneng.

"We looked at the GPS and it showed we had a lot of high level fatigue in players very early in that game and that's due to playing a big match away to Canterbury that affected our recovery times.

"That changed sleep patterns and throw into the mix a late flight and jetlag and all together we could only give 80 percent of our maximum.

"It was a huge limiting factor in our delivery and still we pushed a side like them to the maximum. I believe had we had one or two more days to prepare we could've beaten Shandong Luneng.

"The reality is that we have players now that are looking fresher. Micah Lea'alafa, for example, ran six kilometres before he came off where normally in a match he sets himself at nine or ten kilometres in a game.

"Fabrizio Tavano ran 12 kilometres against Canterbury but only went for nine kilometres in the Shandong Luneng game and he's looked fresh at training today.

"Six kilometres is what we cover in a training session and there are examples of that throughout Tuesday's performance," he said.

How Auckland City FC line up for tonight's third place match is difficult to say with one more light session likely to be used to ascertain where energy levels are for Tribulietx's charges.

"We'll see how people feel this morning but there is a good chance we will make some changes but we won't confirm that until later today.

"We'll combine our team in a way that enables us to compete better," he told

Hong Kong's selection side had a similar hard-luck story after they lost to Sagan Tosu in a penalty shoot-out but they showed signs they will be a tough unit to crack.

"I watched 60-65 minutes of Hong Kong against Sagan Tosu and they look a very direct team that plays in a 4-4-2 formation.

"They are a selection team so there are some good players there on the ball and some physical players.

"They'll give us a good challenge but we'll want to compete even better," he said.

The match kicks off at 9pm NZST.


Match Details
Tonghai Financial Chinese New Year Cup
Thursday 7 February 2019
Hong Kong League XI v Auckland City FC
Hong Kong International Stadium
Kick-off: 9pm NZST

AC (squad): 1. Enaut ZUBIKARAI (GK), 3. Takuya IWATA, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA (c), 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cam HOWIESON, 8. Albert RIERA, 9. Javier LOPEZ, 10. Micah LEA'ALAFA, 11. Fabrizio TAVANO, 12. Dylan MANICKUM, 13. Patrick LUNDEMO, 14. Jordan VALE, 15. Dan MORGAN, 16. Yousif ALI, 17. Jackson WOOD, 18. Ruben PARKER (GK), 19. David BROWNE, 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 21. Maro BONSU-MARO, 22. Omar GUARDIOLA, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cameron BROWN (GK), 25. Joshua JONES.


Tonghai Finance Chinese New Year Cup 2019
Third Place match
Thursday 7 February, 2019
Hong Kong XI v Auckland City FC
Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong
Kick-off: 9pm NZST

Tonghai Finance Chinese New Year Cup 2019
Thursday 7 February, 2019
Shandong Luneng Taishan FC v Sagan Tosu FC
Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong
Kick-off: 11.15pm NZST


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