City advance to semis with win over Suva

Words: ACFC Media

Wednesday 17 May 2023

LUGANVILLE, Vanuatu - Auckland City FC marked their 100th Oceania game in style defeating Suva FC 3-1 at Luganville’s Soccer City Stadium to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 OFC Champions League with a game to spare.

Playing in hot and humid conditions Man of the Match Liam Gillion grabbed a brace and Gerard Garriga contributed with another while Alex Saniels scored a consolation goal for the Fijians.

The Navy Blues had all the possession as they looked to assert their dominance from the outset.

Following half chances falling to Nathan Lobo,  Adam Mitchell and Garriga, the New Zealand representatives took a deserved lead with the impressive Gillion making a brilliant solo run in the middle of the park before passing Suva keeper Akuila Mateisuva with a superb finish. 

Azariah Soromon came the closest at the other end with an attempted lob over Conor Tracey, but the City custodian was on guard tipping the ball above his crossbar.

Garriga doubled City’s advantage following a classy first touch and another superb finish after beating the offside trap at the end of a pinpoint long range release from Mario Ilich.

Tracey pulled off a spectacular diving save to keep out  Soromon’s bending strike aimed at the City gloveman’s top left corner to resume the action in the second half,  while the Navy Blues kept converting their chances with Gillion grabbing his second with an emphatic drive from inside the box.

With City seemingly in cruise control, Suva pulled one back courtesy of  a long range drive by Saniel, but it was too little too late for the Fijian outfit as the defending champions reasserted their control for the remainder of the match with substitutes Matt Ellis, Ryan De Vries and Joe Lee all coming close to add to the scoreline before settling for a 3-1 win and maximum points.

On the third and final match day in Group A, the Navy Blues face Samoa’s Lupe Ole Saga on Saturday, 20 May with kick-off at 12pm local time/1pm NZST.

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Ends

Match Result

OFC Champions League - Group A, MD 2
Wednesday 17 May 2023
Luganville Soccer City Stadium, Vanuatu
Suva FC : 1 (Alex SANIEL 71’)
Auckland City FC: 3 (Liam GILLION, 14’, 55’, Gerard GARRIGA 34’)

HT: 0-2

AC 1. Conor TRACEY (GK) 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 5. Michael Den HEIJER, 7. Cam HOWIESON (c) (22. Tong ZHOU, 62’), 8. Gerard GARRIGA, ( 23. Matt ELLIS, 69’), 9. Angus KILKOLLY, (11. Ryan DE VRIES 62’) 10. Dylan MANICKUM, (16. Joe LEE 84’), 13. Nathan LOBO, 14. Jordan VALE, (12. Regont MURATI 69’), 19. Liam GILLION. 

SUBS NOT USED:  24. Joe WALLIS (GK), 4. Christian GRAY, 6. Dan MORGAN, 15. Aidan CAREY. 

Coach: Albert RIERA
Assistant coach: Ivan VICELICH
Goalkeeper coach: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
Technical: Adria CASALS 
Physiotherapist: Matt PAYNE
Logistics Manager: Keith COTON
General Manager: Gordon WATSON 

 

OFC CHAMPS LEAGUE PLAYOFF 1st LEG

Saturday 9 March 2024, Kiwitea Street, kick-off: 2pm

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