City claim win to secure National League Final berth

Words: ACFC Media

Saturday 4 November 2023

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Auckland City FC have qualified for the 2023 New Zealand National League title decider with two rounds to spare after  defeating Petone FC 2-0 on Saturday afternoon in Lower Hutt.

It was the Navy Blues’ seventh win from as many games to maintain their firm grip on the competition with maximum 21 points and guarantee themselves a top two finish.

Second week in a row Angus Kilkolly and Dylan Manickum were on target to secure the points for the defending champions.

Kilkolly has been in prolific form throughout this year’s  National League campaign and he became only the sixth City player to score 50 goals for the club with a typically cool finish in the 36th minute.

It was a timely strike to settle the visitors’ nerves following a competitive contest during the opening half hour.

Missing the likes of Cam Howieson, Ryan De Vries, Emiliano Tade,  Gerard Garriga, Liam Gillion  and Mike Den Heijer  the depth of the squad was once again tested and head coach Albert Riera had every reason to be proud of his side’s response.

In the second half the Navy Blues played with plenty of confidence, holding possession by stroking the ball around and looking solid at the back with skipper Mario Ilich, Adam Mitchell and Christian Gray all looking focused and comfortable.

The Navy Blues were the most likely to add a second and they did put the results beyond any doubt courtesy of Manickum in injury time. 

Riera couldn’t hide his delight after the final whistle.

“Yes we are happy to qualify for the final in a very complicated game that we knew it’s going to happen and Petone proved that.

“They are a very good side, they play very good football on a big pitch and turf which we are not used to but we are not here to make excuses,” the Navy Blues coach explained.

“Our players came down here and made us very, very proud, not just by winning the game and having a clean sheet but also by qualifying for the final which is a massive achievement for Auckland City as a club.

"They gave everything, some of the players who have played today don’t always play and when they have to step up, they do that and I'm very proud and very happy,” Riera added.

Meanwhile Wellington Olympic have made a huge step towards setting up a rematch of last year’s final against City with  a convincing 5-2 win over third-placed Christchurch United.

The men from the capital are four points behind the Navy Blues and four points clear of Christchurch with just two rounds remaining.

Auckland City will host Olympic in a top-of-the-table clash next Sunday at Kiwitea with kick-off at 3 pm and broadcast live on FIFA+.

Ends

Match Result
Saturday 4 November 2023
National League Championship Round 7
Petone FC: 0
Auckland City FC: 2 (Angus KILKOLLY 36 ‘, Dylan MANICKUM 90+2)  

HT: 0-1

AC: 1. Conor TRACEY (GK), 2. Mario ILICH (c), 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Christian GRAY, 9. Angus KILKOLLY, 10 Dylan MANICKUM, 12. Regont MURATI, (15. Aidan CAREY 61’) 13. Nathan LOBO, (21. Takuya IWATA 73’), 14. Jordan VALE, 22. Tong ZHOU, (15. Aidan CAREY 87’), 26. Rayan TAYEB.

SUBS NOT USED: 24. Joe WALLIS (GK), 17. Oliver COLLOTY 

COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
TECHNICAL: Adria CASALS
LOGISTICS: Keith COTON
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE

AUCKLAND CITY FC TOP SCORERS OF ALL TIME

1. Emiliano TADE (236 games) - 152 goals
2. Ryan DE VRIES (183 games) - 96 goals
3. Grant YOUNG (128 games) - 66 goals
4. Keryn JORDAN (80 games) - 62 goals
5. Paul URLOVIC (115 games) - 51 goals
6. Angus KILKOLLY (87 games) - 50 goals
7. Manel EXPOSITO (68 games) - 46 goals
8. Dylan MANICKUM (119 games) - 44 goals
9. Joao MOREIRA (70 games) - 43 goals
10. Cam HOWIESON (176 games) - 38 goals

*Players in bold still active

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NORTHERN LEAGUE R6

Saturday 20 April 2024, Kiwitea Street, 3pm

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