City produce comeback in latest hit out

Words: ACFC Media

Thursday 7 December 2023

Picture: Phototek

DUBAI, UAE - Auckland City FC staged another comeback to grab a 1-1 draw with United FC of the UAE Pro League 1st Division thanks to a Dylan Manickum header.

The hosts started the game aggressively and were rewarded for their positive intent when midfielder Baidy let rip with a superb long range strike past Conor Tracey with just five minutes on the clock at the Dubai Sports City.

It took most of the first half for City to get to grips with a physical side that were strong, physical and fast, but once they did, they were at times unplayable with midfielder Mario Ilich a dominant figure throughout.

Albert Riera's side almost drew level in unusual circumstances when a slick move involving Tong Zhou and Liam Gillion found Murati at the far post only for his deflected shot to cannon off Christian Gray's head then over the crossbar.

City delivered a more authoritative performance in the second half and were immediately rewarded when a corner to the far post found Gray whose downward header bounced above Maksim's reach allowing Dylan Manickum to head home from close range three minutes after the restart.

For Manickum, it was his fifth goal in his last seven club games and his 47th for the club just four short of Angus Kilkolly and former All Whites striker Paul Urlovic, each on 51. 

Riera's side produced a string of good moments in transition including one sequence that involved Gerard Garriga, Emiliano Tade, Ryan De Vries, Murati and Angus Kilkolly before Joe Lee wrapped his shot off the left hand upright of goalkeeper Maksim's goal frame.

City looked in full control but were nearly caught out by substitute Sissoko who zipped in behind the defence and whipped over a sharp cross only for Aidan Carey to hook clear at the back post.

There was time for Riera to hand a debut to goalkeeper Sebastian Ciganda, signed back in June from Waiheke United while the match could've been won right at the last when Lee was sent clear only to steer a shot past the keeper but the wrong side of the post right on the final whistle.

Auckland City FC depart Dubai on Thursday 7 December at 3.45pm and land in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at 6.00pm local time where they will take up a new training base before facing the host nation's champions and star-studded Al-Ittihad five days later at the FIFA Club World Cup.

Ends

Match Result
Prestige Friendly
Wednesday 6 December 2023
United FC 1 (BAIDY 5')
Auckland City FC 1 (Dylan MANICKUM 48')
HT: 1-0.

AC: 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. Joe LEE, 18. Joe WALLIS (GK), 19. Liam GILLION, 20. Emiliano TADE, 21. Adam BELL, 22. Tong ZHOU, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Sebastian CIGANDA (GK), 25. Michael DEN HEIJER, 26. Rayan TAYEB.

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

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