Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 19 March 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC completed an undefeated regular season in the ISPS Handa Premiership but Dan Morgan says it was hard to get going after the impact of last week's terrorist act in Christchurch.
A spate of sports fixtures and cultural gatherings were cancelled or under threat of postponement following the tragedy at the two Mosques and Morgan admitted Sunday's 5-2 win over Waitakere United had a surreal feel to it.
"Sunday's game was very tough and surreal. We're a team with a lot of players from different religions, countries and beliefs but we stick close together and Christchurch had an impact on us, for sure, like it did for everyone.
"Our condolences go out to everyone in the Canterbury football community and to those directly affected by the tragedy. We can only hope things somehow get better for you over time," Morgan told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
While the ISPS Handa Premiership's final round was completed, the match between Tasman United and Canterbury United was cancelled with the result determined as a 0-0 draw.
As a result, Canterbury United claimed third place and an away semi-final at Trusts Arena against league runners-up Eastern Suburbs AFC on Saturday in what shapes as a traumatic week for Christchurch and in particular it's Muslim community.
Navy Blues New Zealand futsal international Dylan Manickum has flown to Christchurch to pay his respects to the family of Atta Elayyan, Manickum's former team-mate who died as a result of injuries sustained in the cowardly attack.
There is a despondent air hanging over the country in general and football as well for Morgan and his Navy Blues team-mates but he found the strength to share his thoughts on Sunday's match.
The maturity of Morgan is in stark contrast to the raw 19-year-old who made his first team breakthrough at the FIFA Club World Cup ten years ago.
NEWS - Manickum calls for support of Atta Elayyan's family#NavyBlues Dylan Manickum calls for support for family of tragic ex-teammate struck down in last week's terrorist attack— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) March 18, 2019
Givealittle fund: https://t.co/oYDluPhYPQ
Manickum speaks: https://t.co/oBwBYSWCvB pic.twitter.com/PjXF33VhOV
His take on what's made Auckland City FC tough to beat is down to squad unity and a collective belief in each other's abilities regardless of who steps into the starting eleven.
"We've used a lot of players this season because our fixture list has been packed. We've had a one squad mentality throughout the whole season whether we were in Dunedin or Hong Kong or Honiara.
"To keep winning is a habit for us but now we're down to the sharp end of the season where we have to keep that run going.
"Personally, I've been pleased with my own form and that's down to taking a break in the winter to allow one or two niggles to settle down a bit.
MATCH REPORT - Auckland City FC set record with style on sombre day at Kiwitea Street— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) March 17, 2019
Auckland City FC set a new competition record for most points ever but the mood at Kiwitea Street was more sombre than celebratory.
"The system we play benefits my game and also the quality of the players around me who do a lot of great work that allows me to get into the spaces I need to be in to make a difference - it's great to be playing well in a great team."
Auckland City FC take on Team Wellington in the ISPS Handa Premiership semi-finals on Sunday 24 March 2019 at Kiwitea Street.
The match kicks off at the earlier than usual time of 2.35pm NZST and is live on Sky Sport.
ISPS Handa Premiership Semi-Final
Sunday 24 March 2019
Auckland City FC v Team Wellington
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 2.35pm NZST
Live on Sky Sports
Help Atta Elayyan's Family - click here to donate
Use of Funds
The funds will go to Farah directly to help her continue to raise their young daughter during this tragic time.
Wed 6 Dec 2023, United FC, Dubai, UAE, KO: 6.00pm local