Words: ACFC Media
Saturday 18 November 2023
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC will be looking to end their regular domestic season on a high when they host Christchurch United in the final round of the National League on Sunday afternoon at Kiwitea street.
With one eye on next weekend’s Grand Final against Wellington Olympic at Mount Smart Stadium the Navy Blues believe a win over Christchurch would be the best way to prepare for the title decider.
A victory on Sunday would also seal City top spot on the National League table which has always been one of the goals set out by the team.
The Navy Blues have won seven National League matches in a row before last week’s 3-1 loss to Wellington Olympic and defender Adam Mitchell insists his side will will be keen to put that rare defeat behind them.
“Yeah obviously that’s our second defeat of this season and I think it’s the first League defeat we’ve had at Kiwitea since 2016 which is a really good feat for our club but look we are going to bounce back from the defeat, going to play Christchurch this weekend and give it our all,” he said.
Michael Den Heijer has also stressed the importance of returning to the winners’ circle and finish on top at the end of the regular season.
“It’s the only priority at the moment the boys are all focused on making sure that we finish in first spot.
“We had a great start to the National League campaign going seven from seven then obviously everyone was disappointed with the result on the weekend just gone so everyone is wanting to put that right,” explained the Navy Blues defender.
“The boys are all excited for next weekend’s final but like I said the highest priority at the moment is to make sure we finish off the league well and go into the final with some momentum behind us,” added Den Heijer.
Mitchell echoed his his teammate’s sentiments.
“It’s good for our mentality and good for the team morale as well so yeah we got to get the three points before we go into the final and then we got to get one up on Wellington Olympic after they have just beaten us,” he said.
CHRITCHURCH UNITED - NATIONAL LEAGUE FORM
10 November v Cashmere Technical (H) lost 2-4
4 November v. Wellington Olympic (A) lost 2-5
29 October v. Napier City Rovers AFC (H) won 2-1
21 October v. Petone FC (H ) won 3-0
14 October v. Manurewa AFC (H) lost 1-2
7 October v. Auckland United (A) drew 2-2
30 September v. Wellington Phoenix (H) won 2-0
24 September v. Eastern Suburbs AFC (A) won 1-0
National League Championship R9
Sunday 19 November 2023
Auckland City FC v Christchurch United
Kiwitea Street, Sandringham
Kick-off: 2pm NZDT
AC 2023 NLC SQUAD: 1-Conor TRACEY (GK), 2- Mario ILICH, 3- Adam MITCHELL, 4-Christian GRAY, 5- Timothy BOULET, 7-Cam HOWIESON (c), 8-Gerard GARRIGA, 9-Angus KILKOLLY, 10-Dylan MANICKUM, 11-Ryan DE VRIES, 12-Regont MURATI, 13-Nathan LOBO, 14-Jordan VALE, 15- Aidan CAREY, 16-Joseph LEE, 17-Oliver COLLOTY, 18. Sebastian CIGANDA (GK), 19-Liam GILLION, 20- Emiliano TADE, 21- Takuya IWATA, 22-Tong ZHO, 23- Alfie ROGERS, 24-Joe WALLIS (GK), 25- Michael DEN HEIJER, 26-Rayan TAYEB, 27-Stipe UKICH, 28-Adam BELL, 29- Yuta NARUSE
COACH: Albert RIERA
ASSISTANT COACH: Ivan VICELICH
GK COACH: Enaut ZUBIKARAI
TECHNICAL: Adria CASALS
TECHNICAL: Jarrod WALLACE
LOGISTICS: Keith COTON
PHYSIO: Matt PAYNE
Wed 6 Dec 2023, United FC, Dubai, UAE, KO: 6.00pm local