Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 13 February 2019
DUNEDIN, New Zealand - Auckland City FC dropped their first points of the season as a reconfigured line-up grabbed a late 1-1 draw at Southern United.
Ramon Tribulietx elected to leave out skipper Angel Berlanga, goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai, Cam Howieson, Micah Lea'alafa, Mario Bilen, Jordan Vale, Dylan Manickum and Reid Drake from his line-up while there was room for youngster Jackson Woods to make his competitive first team debut off the bench.
It was the 34th meeting between the two sides with Auckland City FC having won 26 matches with five draws and two defeats but the Southerners were desperate to claim a rare win that would boost their faint playoff hopes.
It is 12 years, 11 months and 20 days since Southern United last defeated Auckland City FC in the ISPS Handa Premiership when Francesco Caruso netted the winner for the team then known as Otago United in a 1-0 win at Kiwitea Street.
Auckland City FC remain undefeated in 28 matches with Southern United, a run comprised of 22 wins and five draws but that was far from remaining certain when Stephen Last opened the scoring after just 10 minutes.
Southern United have never beaten Auckland City FC at home since the current format of the National League came into being in 2004-05 and holding onto that slender lead, albeit against a Navy Blues second string, would prove difficult.
That lead evaporated when substitute David Browne was brought down allowing Javier Lopez to slot home from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left.
Southern United were denied a penalty claim of their own in the dying moments as the Navy Blues dropped their first points of the domestic season but still retained their unbeaten run.
The home side's only unbeaten season against Auckland City FC came last season when Southern United picked up a 2-2 draw at Kiwitea Street and a 1-1 draw in Dunedin.
Auckland City FC's unbeaten run in domestic and Oceania football now stands at 40 matches made up of 33 wins and seven draws.
This does not take into account the match won by Tasman United due to Auckland City FC fielding an ineligible player on December 17, 2017.
Auckland City FC were last beaten in domestic football by Team Wellington on 15 October 2017 when the capital men defeated the Navy Blues 3-1 at David Farrington Park.
That was 1 year, 3 months and 30 days ago.
The Navy Blues next match is at home to Hamilton Wanderers on Sunday 17 February 2019.
The match kicks off at 4.35pm NZST and is live on Sky Sport.
FULL MATCH - SOUTHERN UNITED 1-1 AUCKLAND CITY FC
ISPS Handa Premiership
Wednesday 13 February 2019
Southern United 1 (Stephen LAST 10')
Auckland City FC 1 (Javier LOPEZ 69'-pen)
AC: 18. Ruben PARKER (GK), 3. Takuya IWATA, 6. Brian KALTAK, 8. Albert RIERA (19. David BROWNE 60'), 9. Javier LOPEZ, 11. Fabrizio TAVANO, 16. Yousif ALI, 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 21. Maro BONSUY-MARO, 22. Omar GUARDIOLA, 23. Alfie ROGERS.
SUBS NOT USED: 24. Cameron BROWN (GK), 13. Patrick LUNDEMO.
COACH: Ramon TRIBULIETX
Sunday 4 December 2022, Wellington Olympic, Mount Smart Stadium