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Otago United

Auckland City


ASB Premiership - Round 13
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Sunday 11 March, 2012


James GOVAN 67'

Manel EXPOSITO 37'
Angel BERLANGA 48'



Halftime: 0-2                   Referee: Matt Stoneman                               Crowd: 250


Auckland too strong for plucky Otago

by Rab Smith at Forsyth Barr Stadium

DUNEDIN - It was perspiration against inspiration as Auckland City turned on the style to beat Otago United 3-1 at the Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin.

And there was frustration too, as coach Ramon Tribulietx’s team sprayed passes around, and for the most part, Otago chased shadows.

Yet passes do not win games, and for half an hour the blue shirts herded Auckland into blind alleys, and in fact it was Otago that hit the net first when Donnie MacGregor beat keeper Liam Anderson, but had his celebrations cut short by a linesman’s offside flag.

Macgregor did not last much longer as he arched in agony when his hamstring twanged, and he joined Otago’s other late casualty, Regan Coldicott who broke down at Thursday training.

Physio Dusty Quinn looked nervously sideways on the near empty subs bench, wondering if a 40 something rubber had ever debuted in the ASB Premiership.

Then Luis Corrales expertly finished a flowing move, given time to pick his spot and beat keeper Peter Evans for the first goal after 34 minutes.

Then three minutes later another latin struck as Manel Exposito drilled in goal number two, and no one would have been surprised if Otago’s early resistance had evaporated.

But no, the thin blue line upped its work rate even higher, and some corners and long throws forced Auckland’s young keeper Liam Anderson to battle in the box to repel Otago.

In defence Matt Joy has improved steadily this season, a huge defensive centreback, he is a big unit to stop when he steams into the goalmouth at set plays.

Springheeled Tristan Prattley celebrated his inclusion into Olympic football with some well timed leaps, and yet another Otago newby, Jude Fitzpatrick also made his towering presence felt.

But even those Otago supporters with one eye in their forehead had to recognize Aucklands sweeping attack, which with a two goal cushion started to go for backheels and feints that stitched attacks into great entertainment.

Not for the first time this season, coach Richard Murray’s halftime team talk based on quickly fighting back to 2-1…. Evaporated as in the 48th minute, Angel Berlanga superbly volleyed Auckland into a watertight 3-nil lead.

However, with torrential rain drumming on the Stadium roof, Otago’s young side cranked up more pace and energy to climb back into what had looked like a lost cause.

A series of freekicks, corners and long throws had Ivan Vicelich and his back line unstylishly hoiking clearances into seating Row Z, and things got worse when Otago scored.

The 68th minute goal was not bad either, as James Govan leapt from a queue at the far post and power headed a right win corner through the mob and past keeper Williams.

Otago spent its remaining energy recklessly, and went close, but Auckland’s smooth machine recovered from its stutter, and smoothly played out time, as referee Matt Stoneman – who had a good invisible game – blew the final whistle.

Coach Ramon rightly saw Auckland’s performance as controlled, patient and full of purpose. No stars just a stylish team effort, but some local coaches would have liked to sign Corrales…

Otago boss Murray praised his teams unquenchable spirit and mused how things might have gone if Otago’s early ‘ offside goal’ had not been chalked off.

Murray said,’ Auckland is a class side, and who can argue with a 3-1 win, but we certainly had our chances too, and it was an Otago performance that on many days would have earned points.’



Team Sheet

Otago United


Auckland City

22. Peter EVANS (GK)

26. Liam ANDERSON (GK)

3. Tristan PRATTLEY


5. Matt JOY


9. Donnie MacGREGOR (Govan, 26')

10. Luis CORRALES (Shaker, 77')



18. Harley RODEKA


21. Jose CANTILLO (Fitzpatrick, 75')

15. Ivan VICELICH (c) (Van Steeden, 68')

23. Morgan DAY

16. Albert RIERA (Feneridis, 60')

25. Craig FERGUSON

21. Ivan DIAZ


22. Andrew MILNE

29. James WATSON (Ridden, 85')

23. Simon ARMS




4. Ricki van STEEDEN (On, 68')

4. Jude FITZPATRICK (On, 75')

12. Tamati WILLIAMS (GK)

11. James GOVAN (On, 26')

13. Alex FENERIDIS (On, 60')

12. Jackson MITCHELL

19. Iwa SHAKER (On, 77')

28. Andrew RIDDEN (On, 85')


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card

Play by Play


Hello and Welcome to the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for this round 13 ASB Premiership clash between Otago United and Minor Premiers Auckland City. It has been raining steadily in Dunedin since about 7pm last night which is not an issue for us here under the roof, but is causing some problems across the road for Day Five of the cricket test. This is the second time this pitch has been used in less than 20 hours, with a Super Rugby match here last night. Despite that, the pitch has held up incredibly well and will play well today.

Auckland are, and rightfully so, clear favourites today, and this decimated Otago team will need a mammoth effort to win their last home of the season. My pick. Otago to take it 1nil.


A big traveling fan contingent from Auckland are here and already making a lot of noise. At present, the crowd size is not huge, probably around 150.


Teams entering now, Otago in blue, Auckland in white.


Auckland win the toss and chose to play from east to west, Otago to kick off.




Otago starting the brightest with the majority of posession  and territory. A Matt JOY long throw keeps Auckland on their toes but easily dealt with. 


Really promising through ball from Craig FERGUSON, can't find its target Ant HANCOCK thanks to the very classy defending of Ivan VICELICH. Throw in Otago, which causes Auckland no problems.


Free kick Auckland on the left. Delivered by Manel EXPOSITO, Headed clear by JOY.


Harley RODEKA breaks down the right. Well defended by CORRALES.


KOPRIVCIC through ball finds CORRALES with time and space, but his shot was timid and easily saved by EVANS.


Adam DICKINSON takes it into the Otago box, but the Otago defense is the equal of him.


Manel EXPOSITO latched onto a pinpoint cross from the right, and with an overhead bicycle kick brought the best out of keeper EVANS.


Messy play in the Auckland box, and Donnie MacGREGOR has the ball in the net, but AR1 Edward Cook's flag is up and it's hard to argue with that. Remains 0-0.


Otago have had a number of good attacks and its only for a last gasp tackle or block from a defender that has saved Auckland, who are desperately hanging on.


Otago striker Donnie MacGREGOR has gone down in the far corner, clutching his knee from what I believe was a collision with a hoarding.


Andrew MILNE makes a cross from the left that troubles no one.


And 9. Donnie MacGREGOR doesn't reenter play and is replaced by 11. James GOVAN.


Auckland look promising but Matt JOY comes to the rescue. Corner awarded. Again JOY heads clear.


KOPRIVCIC causes problems in the Otago area, but to their credit, they stay calm, don't go off their feet and clear well.


GOAL AUCKLAND! Auckland caught Otago on the break, and some very simple straightforward passing between KOPRIVCIC and EXPOSITO saw CORRALES with the ball 8 yards out, with all the time in the world, and he casually slots it away in the bottom right corner. Otago 0, Auckland 1.


 GOAL AUCKLAND! Again simplicity ruled here. Easy break from the right and good passing, saw Manel EXPOSITO in a great position and he slotted in away. Otago 0, Auckland 2.


Auckland well and truly on top now. Only the good defense of Tristan PRATTLEY and then Matt JOY prevents KOPRIVCIC and DICKINSON from joining the attacking partners on the score sheet.


Halftime called, Otago with it all to do in the second half.


Teams coming back on now.


Auckland kickoff.


Auckland through Adam Dickinson break down the right, corner won.


 GOAL AUCKLAND! Corner delivered from the right finds the head of Angel BERLANGA who scores. Otago 0, Auckland 3.


A shocking error on defense by Craig FERGUSON puts Luis CORRALES through one on one. But fortunately for FERGUSON and Otago, the offside flag comes to the rescue.


CORRALES takes it to the byline, squares it up for Daniel KOPRIVCIC who shoots well, but his shot is palmed away from an outstanding diving save from Peter EVANS. Score remains 3-0.


An ariel through ball from Auckland could have caused problems but Peter EVANS comes out of his box, control it on the chest and clear it away.


First change for Auckland City sees 13. Alex FENERIDIS come on and 16. Albert RIERA come off.


Free kick to Auckland near halfway sees the home crowd get angry, sent to the right then delivered into the area. Corrales almost certainly would have scored his second, but for the offside flag.


Corner awarded to Auckland, Peter EVANS receives a firm talking to for possibly dissent.


 GOAL OTAGO! Crazy goal mouth scramble after a Tristan PRATTLEY corner for Otago. Ball narrowly crossed the line, and was awarded on the signal from AR Hamish Philip. Not sure of the scorer will confirm and report.


Sub for Auckland. 4. Ricki Van STEEDEN on, 15. Ivan VICELICH off.


CORRALES again was one on one with EVANS, but the keeper made himself big and palmed it away.


After checking with the ground announcer, we're still not sure who got the Otago goal. James Govan was celebrating the most, and he was certainly there or there abouts, but could have been JOY or an Own Goal


Sub for Otago. 4. Jude Fitzpatrick comes on, 21. Jose Cantillo comes off.


Sub for Auckland, 10. Luis CORRALES has gone off, 19. Iwa SHAKER comes on.


Peter EVANS does well to dive on the ball at the feet of Manel EXPOSITO who has gone down badly, clutching his ankle. He'll play no further part.


Again EVANS is at his best this time palming away the shot of DICKINSON. The same player hits the bar from the resulting corner, before EVANS again saves the shot of Van STEEDEN.


Adam DICKINSON couldn't buy a goal today, but he certainly deserves one. After beating 4 defenders his shot was narrowly wide of the right hand upright.


Sub for Otago, sees 28. Andrew RIDDEN come on for 29. James WATSON.


Aajay CUNNINGHAM delivers a wonderful cross from the left who finds the head of Jude FITZPATRICK, in a rare appearance, who was lurking at the back post. The header was narrowly wide.


Just the one minute of added time to be played.


Fulltime called and it finishes Auckland 3, Otago 1 in the last Otago home game of the season. Despite Otago being dominant for first 20, the final score is a fair reflection of the game, and indeed the contrasting fortunes of each team's season. So thats it from me this season, it's been a pleasure. Rab will follow with his report.