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YoungHeart Manawatu

Auckland City


NZFC - Semifinal, First Leg
Memorial Park, Pamerston North
Sunday 15 March, 2009


Jason Hayne 29, 80
Gustavo Saralegui 41

Grant Young 76



Halftime:     2-0               Referee: Chris Kerr                      Crowd: 720


Nine-man Manawatu claim first-leg win

by Jonathan Galuszka at Memorial Park

Gustavo Saralegui celebrates his goal from the halfway line with YoungHeart fans, but he'd soon see a second yellow card for his trouble. Photo: Dave LintottDespite playing the majority of the second half with only nine men, YoungHeart Manawatu defeated Auckland City 3-1 in Palmerston North today and will head north for next Sunday's return leg with a valuable lead. 

With over 700 spectators turning up to cheer on their home team, YoungHeart were keen to put on a good display and certainly delivered in an accomplished display before halftime.

They managed to control play through the first stages of the game, mounting pressure on Auckland’s defence. Goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley was especially edgy, at one point smashing a back-pass into YoungHeart’s Jason Hayne that nearly went into the back of the net.

In the 29th minute, Spoonley hit a ball – apparently for his own player – into the path of Gustavo Saralegui. Saralegui attempted to chip Spoonley, but hit the bar instead. Luckily for him, Hayne was running into the box and put the ball into the back of the net with a diving header.

However, the goal of the match came in the 41st minute. Saralegui dispossessed an Auckland defender on halfway, then – seeing that Spoonley was off his line – smashed the ball towards the goal.

But the real drama happened just after this. Saralegui, being the passionate South American footballer that he is, ripped his shirt off when celebrating.

The rulebook says that’s worth a caution and as Saralegui already had a yellow card for a previous indiscretion, referee Chris Kerr had no choice but to show Saralegui a red card.

Jason Hayne's diving header puts Manawatu ahead. Photo Dave LintottAfter halftime, Auckland coach Paul Posa brought on striker Paul Urlovic in an attempt to take advantage of their one-man advantage and seek out an away goal.

Things got even better for Auckland in the 55th minute, when Raff de Gregorio – in his first game back from injury – received a straight red for what appeared to be dissent.

But try as they might, Auckland were still unable to put the ball into the net. Either YoungHeart goalkeeper Chris Marsh thwarted their efforts or YoungHeart got lucky with the ball hitting the post.

Auckland finally made good of their two-man advantage in the 76th minute when Grant Young jumped high to head a ball past a helpless Marsh.

But in spite of their advantage, Auckland was still unable to prevent YoungHeart from scoring again. Hayne managed to find himself with the ball on the edge of Auckland’s penalty area in the 80th minute and made no mistake, blasting the ball into the back of the net.

Jacob Spoonley watches as Saralegui's chip sail;s past him. Phtot Dave LintottWhile Auckland coach Paul Posa refused any attempts to talk to media after the game, YoungHeart coach Bob Sova had mixed feelings about the game.

“[Winning] 3-1 against Auckland is pretty good,” Sova said.

“I could be a prick and say that the away goal was disappointing, but I’m definitely happy to a point.”

It was not hard to guess why Sova was not completely pleased with his team’s efforts.

“I’m disappointed with the two red cards. It means that they are out next week – Raff possibly for two.”

But forever the optimist, Sova can see gold around the grey cloud of losing two key players before a crucial away tie.

“It [next week’s return match] is going to be a true test of the depth of our squad.”

Photos: Dave Lintott  


Team Sheet

YoungHeart Manawatu


Auckland City

1. Chris Marsh (GK)

12. Jacob Spoonley (GK)

2. Nelson Sale

5. Matt Williams (off 66min)

4. Jan Weissenfeldt

6. Ki-Hyung Lee

7. Jason Hayne (off 88min)

7. James Pritchett

9. Gustavo Saralegui

8. Chad Coombes

10. Adam Cowan

10. Grant Young

11. Scott Robson

11. Alex Feneridis

14. Nik Tromp (off 78min)

15. Ivan Vicelich

16. Raff de Gregorio

20. Greg Uhlmann

20. Alick Maemae (off 56min)

24. Milos Nikolic (off 55min)

22. Cory Chettleburgh

2. Jonathan Raj (off 3 min)



19. Matt Borren (GK)

1. John Fletcher (GK)

3. Pablo Yackson (on 56 min)

25. Adam McGeorge

8. Nathan Cooksley

3. Matt Friel (on 3 min)

17. Issac Duker (on 78 min)

9. Paul Urlovic (on 55 min)

18. Finlay Milne (on 88 min)

23. Liam Mulrooney (on 66 min)


=yellow card

=2 yellow cards

= red card


Play by Play

Welcome to the NZFC online version of today's playoff tie between NZP YoungHeart Manawatu and Auckland City in Palmerston North. It is sunny with very little chance of rain (you can never be too sure in Palmerston North). However, there is a strong breeze across the ground. For those wondering why we have not kicked off yet, Auckland's plane had to turn around due to a malfunction with the radar. Kickoff is now at 2.30. YHM welcome back Raff deGregorio from injury but are without Matt Kennedy. However, the home team will find it harder to score thanks to All White goalkeeper Jacob Spoonley returning to the Auckland squad.

-10 min

The home crowd has turned out in force today for what is possibly the last time YHM will play at home this season. With a good 300+ here already and more still coming through the gates, the home team can expect some vocal support.

-5 min

While being late to the game, Auckland are the first out of the shed. They home crowd is giving them a big reception. No doubt they will be out to silence them quickly.

0 min

Referre Chris Kerr blows the whistle and we are underway. The wind is slightly with Auckland in this half.

1 min

Straight from the outset it looks like it is going to be a physical encounter. Jonathan Raj takes a run down the flank and is hammered by Nelson Sale in a tackle. Raj is on the ground getting treatment and is not looking good at all. It may be an early shower for him.

3 min

SUB Raj is off and Matt Friel gets on a tad earlier than expected.

4 min

Young gets one-on-one with Chris Marsh. He hits low and hard but Marsh takes it easily.

6 min

YHM break out from their half. Hayne runs it up the right flank, then switches it across the field for Chettleburgh. He runs the touchline before hitting it across the goal for Gustavo Saralegui. He smashes one in, beats Spoonley but it does not dip in time to sneak into the top corner.

8 min

Hayne gets it up the Auckland end. He tries to run it across the box, but is tackled. It spills out for Tromp. His effort gets points for trying but none on the board.

11 min

Auckland have won a free kick about 25-yards out from the YHM goal. Lets see what Ki-Hyung Lee can do.

12 min

His delivery comes in and pops off an Auckland foot into the air. Marsh cleans up the scraps.

13 min

Saralegui wins the ball on halfway. He sees Spoonley off his line and tries to chip him. It is far too long though. Pity he did not see Jason Hayne running into space.

14 min

Yellow Card. Raff de Gregorio gets into the book for pulling down Grant Young. Young was flying onto a through ball and may have scored. The free kick comes off the wall twice before Alex Feneridis has a dig. Marsh pats it down before jumping on it.

17 min

Auckland are looking the sharper of the two teams so far. They are using lond balls, tight passing and lots of running to get through the YHM lines. YHM seem to be still adjusting to finals football.

22 min

The wind has changed and YHM now have it behind them.

23 min

Yellow Card. Saralegui gets in the book for interfearing with Spoonley as he tried to punt the ball.

24 min

Hayne chances a back-pass to Spoonley that almost gets him a goal. Spoonley smashed the ball right into Hayne and it luckily bounced wide of the goal. On any other day it could have gone in.

29 min

GOAL! 1-0 Spoonley does it again, this time hitting the ball to Saralegui. Saralegui tries to chip him, it comes off the bar and a diving header from Hayne puts it into the net. The home crowd is loving it!

31 min

Hayne almost has two!! Saralegui beats his man up the left flank and has a shot that Spoonley spills. Hayne gets a head on it but it goes wide.

32 min

YHM get a free kick just outside the Auckland 18 yard thanks to a great run from Hayne. He hits wide to Chettleburgh, but his delivery into the box is poor.

35 min

Hayne has another run down the line before cutting back in. His left foot effort rolls wide though.

37 min

Spoonley gets another back-pass with Hayne chasing hard. This time he manages to get it away without playing it to a YHM player. That will do his confidence a world of good.

39 min

It has been interesting watching the coaches today. Paul Posa has been as silent as a mute all game, obviously waiting to say it all at halftime. On the other hand, Bob Sova has been yelling instructions to his players all game. Sova's approach is obviously working the best so far.

41 min

GOAL! 2-0 That one came from nowhere!!!!! Saralegui gest the ball on halfway and chips Spoonley who is off his line. But in a cruel twist of fate, Saralegui gets a Yellow Card - and the subsequent RED CARD - for taking off his shirt when celebrating. Sova is not happy at all.

HALFTIME 2-0 YHM are playing some great football now, but go into the break with plenty to worry about now that they are down to 10 men. Can they hold the lead for 45 minutes? No doubt Sova will have to decide how to approach the game from here on in.

45 min

The second half is underway.

47 min

Jason Hayne runs past four Auckland defenders on his way to the 18 yard area. Just as he is about to have a shot though, he is tackled. He is going to have a lot more running to do this half without Saralegui to support him.

51 min

Maemae hits the ball across field for Chettleburgh. It is all open pasture for the winger and he sprints with the ball into the box. His shot is fumbled by Spoonley but there is no one from YHM to get the scraps.

55 min

SUB Paul Urlovic gets onto the field for Milos Nikolic. Posa will be looking for Urlovic to run the YHM defenders ragged.

55 min

RED CARD Raff de Gregorio gets his marching orders for dissent. Now YHM are down to nine men. Life just keeps on getting tougher for Bob Sova.

56 min

SUB Pablo Yackson is on for Alick Maemae.

62 min

The crowd is doing all it can to bring YHM home. However, the home team to look like they are being stretched in defence. When they  have the ball they look great though.

63 min

Scott Robson breaks out and is away up the field. He has Hayne with him but decides to run it himself. He is tackled and the ball goes back toward the YHM goal. That's what you get for trying to be the hero I guess.

66 min

SUB Auckland make their final change of the day, with Matt Williams leaving the field for Liam Mulrooney. A defender for a midfielder - Auckland are now playing three at the back and obviously want to pile the pressure on the YHM defence.

70 min

Ki-Hyung Lee pumps in a free kick. It comes off an Auckland head and beats Marsh. But luck is on his side today, as it comes off the far post and rolls into his arms.

71 min

Hayne is away up the field! He is on the edge of the box, turns his man and fires. Spoonley dives and just gets his hands to it. Great positive attacking football is always a good watch, but doing it when you are two men down is magic.

72 min

Chad Coombes flies through the box and puts one into the net. However, the ref had already blown for a free kick against Auckland. YHM are riding their luck, but it may not last forever.

75 min

A ball comes across for Young. He jumps high and beats Marsh with his head, but the ball goes wide. Someone said the right prayers in church today.

76 min

GOAL! 2-1 Young gets it right second time around, with this head going into the top corner.

78 min

SUB Issac Duker brings his fresh legs onto the field and Nik Tromp gets a break.

80 min

GOAL! 3-1 Jason Hayne doubles his tally. He is on the edge of the 18-yard and fires a bullet into the back of the net.

84 min

YHM are managing to just keep Auckland out of the box through some tenacious defending. Even Hayne is dropping as far back as the penalty area at times to help out.

87 min

Pablo Yackson has a great run down the left wing. He beats one by running around him, then plays the ball beween another  defender's legs. He gets in front of goal, but puts his shot wide. This man played in the back four last season.

88 min

SUB Jason Hayne gets a huge clap as he leaves the field and Finlay Milne comes on.

90 min

Three minutes of extra time for YHM to hang on and for Auckland to try and grab another away goal.

FULLTIME 3-1 YHM hang on for the win. They will travel to Auckland next week full of confidence. Auckland still managed to get a crucial away goal, but  will need a win to be in with a chance.