Words: ACFC Media
Friday 20 January 2023
SALOU, Spain - Auckland City FC striker Angus Kilkolly is concentrating on the positives after a 1-0 loss to Spanish side Reus FC Reddis played in freezing winter temperatures at the Futbol Salou Complex today.
With the mercury set to 6 degrees centigrade, and a biting wind that made it feel even colder, City started the game surprisingly well for a team that had just travelled tens of thousands of kilometres and arrived in Spain just yesterday.
City, without a competitive match since the National League Championship final with Wellington Olympic on 4 December last year, took the game to Reus FC Reddis for the first ten minutes until the hosts started to dominate with some slick passing and slick combination play.
But Albert Riera's team were far from outclassed and enjoyed good spells with the ball against a club side that was recently as high as the second tier in the Spanish pyramid system and is midway through their season.
Despite City's efforts the hosts took the lead after 25 minutes when goalkeeper Cam Brown saved a Marca Riki shot low to his left only for the Spanish forward to tumble over in the box earning a penallty kick after a tangle with Mario Ilich. Riki tucked away the resulting penalty kick to put Reus FC Reddis 1-0 up.
Riera made nine changes at the break with Matt Ellis, Adam Bell, Emiliano Tade, Nathan Lobo, Mike Den Heijer, Gerard Garriga, Liam Gillion, Christian Gray and Kilkolly - making his 50th appearance for the club since signing in 2021 - replaced Cam Howieson, Ilich, Nikko Boxall, Takuya Iwata, Regont Murati, Aidan Carey, Dylan Manickum, Ryan De Vries and Joe Lee.
City started the second half with more energy and zip and created several good scoring opportunities the most notable a Kilkolly left foot shot that struck the crossbar and an Ellis volley at the far post that screwed just wide of the target.
But there were close shaves for City, too. Often City pinned Reus FC Reddis deep into their own half only for their hosts to launch pacey and cut-thrust counter attacks, including one that needed a timely intervention by Gray, and another that required Brown to stop.
Kilkolly's analysis of the match was logical: "It's a tough one to play against unknown opposition so our team that started the game for us didn't really know what to expect and I think when we made changes in the second half we were able to give more energy and get in their faces more and create more chances.
"We did that and hit the crossbar and forced their goalkeeper to make a couple of saves. It's obviously disappointing to lose but there were a lot of positives to take out of the game.
"We knew Reus FC Reddis would be technically very good and I think that's what we saw. Spain is a massive football country and you could see some of their touches and passes showed they were very good players but I think we more than coped with them and we also put them under a lot of pressure.
"I think if we played them at a different time of the season, maybe at the end or the peak of our season, maybe the result would've been different. But the result today is not really a factor it was all about getting minutes in the legs. Our goal is the FIFA Club World Cup and that's all we're really focused on," Kilkolly said.
On reaching the half century mark of club matches, Kilkolly was proud and talked about his enjoyment playing for Auckland City FC.
"It's a good personal achievement reaching the 50-game mark. It's something I've enjoyed doing and I love playing every minute for this club and every game I've played I've always tried to do my best.
"There's been lots of great moments especially last year when we won a lot of trophies but we've had a lot of success in my time here. Winning the National League Championship last year was my first national league title and coming on in the final to score in the game after the year I had with injury was special.
"I enjoy coming to train and be coached by great people and to work with great people at the club. Every day is enjoyable when you get to play for Auckland City FC."
Auckland City FC return to training tomorrow before the next scheduled friendly match which is with Korean champions Jeonbuk Motors on Sunday 22 January 2023 at the Futbol Salou Sports Complex.
The match kicks off at midday local time.
Thursday 19 January 2023
Reus FC Reddis 1 (Marca RIKI 25'-pen)
Auckland City FC 0
AC: 24. Cam BROWN (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (21. Michael DEN HEIJER 46'), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 5. Nikko BOXALL (4. Christian GRAY 46'), 7. Cam HOWIESON (c) (8. Gerard GARIGGA 46'), 10. Dylan MANICKUM (20. Emiliano TADE 46'), 11. Ryan DE VRIES (9. Angus KILKOLLY 46'), 12. Regont MURATI (22. Adam BELL 46') , 15. Aidan CAREY (23. Matt ELLIS 46'), 16. Joe LEE (19. Liam GILLION 46'), 25. Takuya IWATA (3. Nathan LOBO 46').
SUBS NOT USED: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 18. Finn DOCKERTY (GK).
UNAVAILABLE: 6. Dan MORGAN (injured), 14. Jordan VALE (absent), 17. Reid DRAKE (absent).
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
MASSEUSE: Natalia KOSINSKA
TECHNICAL: Adria CASALS
ANALYST: Jarrod WALLACE
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC