By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - Auckland City officials will be taking a keen interest in the arrivals board at Auckland International Airport on Sunday ahead of their ASB Premiership semifinal second leg against Team Wellington.
New Zealand Football have approved a start time of 3.30 pm for the game at Kiwitea St to make it possible for Ivan Vicelich, David Mulligan and Jacob Spoonley to play in the semifinal on their return from the All Whites' game in China.
But the timing will be tight with the flight due in the morning and co-coaches Aaron McFarland and Ramon Tribulietx having to assess whether the returning players are up for a game in which Auckland hold the upper hand after winning 2-0 in Wellington.
"It will be a bit of a rush," said McFarland, "and we'll have to make decisions on the day depending on how they are when they land. We'll probably hurt someone's feelings but that's all right as long as we get the right result."
Spoonley and Vicelich have been key members of the Auckland team whereas Mulligan missed the first leg while trialing with a team in China. Liam Little and Sam Campbell are the likely replacements if Spoonley and Vicelich don't play.
The Aucklanders come off a 5-0 victory over Tefana in an O-League game, which counted for nothing, last weekend.
"You don't know how hard they were trying against us, though they were very competitive in the first half," said McFarland. "We've reviewed the tape and from our point of view there were a lot of good things happening."
Buoyed by being named as Oceania club team of the decade, Auckland City could be excused a confident approach to the fixture. But there are a couple of bits of history they should consider.
Last season Auckland returned from Christchurch with a 2-1 advantage only to be thumped 3-0 at Kiwitea St. In 2008 in a one-off playoff Team Wellington silenced the local crowd with a 4-3 triumph to reach the final.
"Maybe it might be worthwhile to remind the senior players of that, but we prefer to focus on what we can do well with a new group," said McFarland.
Team Wellington coach Stu Jacobs knows exactly what his team have to do - score two goals and win on penalties or three and win outright.
"There is no other way than to be attacking," he said. "Anything is possible and we've got to make it possible. We gave the boys last weekend off and we hope they're raring to go."
Team Wellington will be without John Sutherland, red-carded in the first leg, but George Barbarouses is back after seeing his brother play in the A-League Grand Final.
The winners of the Auckland City-Team Wellington semi will meet the winners of the Waitakere United- Canterbury United semi to be completed on April 3. The Grand Final is on April 10.
David MULLIGAN, Aaron BAWDEKAR and Riki van STEEDEN
Coach Stu JACOBS drafts in George BARBAROUSES and Darren CHERITON.
John SUTHERLAND is suspended, Mikey HALIKAIAS is not selected and Romain CORNAND is unavailable.
All Whites selection for David MULLIGAN, Ivan VICELICH a Jacob SPOONLEY means the trio arrives back in the country the day before this match.
John SUTHERLAND is suspended and misses the return leg after his first half red card in the 1st leg at David Farrington Park.
Auckland City’s 2-0 win in the semi-final 1st leg extended their unbeaten run against Team Wellington to five matches. Auckland City’s last defeat against the capital men was a 3-1 loss at Kiwitea Street in 2009. Auckland City has scored a total of 55 goals in this fixture over 20 matches at an average of 2.75 goals per game.
Team Wellington’s ideal result is a 3-0 win. Team Wellington has won twice previously at Kiwitea Street – a 3-1 regular season win in 2009 and a memorable 4-3 extra time victory in the 2007-08 Preliminary Final. In ten previous visits to Sandringham since 2004, these two results remain Wellington’s only victories. Team Wellington has scored just one goal in their last five matches with Auckland City. Wellington has appeared in only one previous Grand Final back in 2007-08 when they lost 2-0 to Waitakere United.
ASB Premiership - Semi-final 2nd Leg
Sunday 27 March, 2011
1- Jacob SPOONLEY (GK)
1- Phil IMRAY (GK)
2- Angel BERLANGA
2- Scott ROBSON
3- Ian HOGG
3- Jamie DUNCAN
4- Sam CAMPBELL
5- Jamie O'CONNOR
6- Stu KELLY
7- Wiremu PATRICK
7- James PRITCHETT
10- Michael FIFII
8- David MULLIGAN
11- Andrew ABBA
9- Manel EXPOSITO
12- Emiliano TADE
10- Luis CORRALES
13- Karl WHALEN (c)
11- Daniel KOPRIVCIC
14- Hicham KAMRI
12- Liam LITTLE (GK)
18- Darren CHERITON
13- Alex FENERIDIS
19- George BARBAROUSES
14- Adam DICKINSON
21- Tyler LISSETTE
15- Ivan VICELICH (c)
22- Justin GULLEY
16- Albert REIRA
23- Ryan CAIN
17- Adam McGEORGE
25- Lance RAMAEKERS (GK)
20- Riki van STEEDEN
- one to be omitted
22- Andrew MILNE
23- Adam THOMAS
26- Aaron BAWDEKAR