NZFC - Semi final (second leg)
Sunday 22 March, 2009
Chad Coombes 43
Auckland win 4-3 on aggregate.
Halftime: 1-0 Referee: Peter O'Leary Crowd: 767
by Jamie Scott at Kiwitea Street
Auckland City earned a shot at reclaiming the New Zealand Football Championship silverware after a 3-0 win over YoungHeart Manawatu at Kiwitea Street on Sunday that clinched their semi-final 4-3 on aggregate.
Keryn Jordan came off the bench to score two goals in the final 20 minutes to add to Chad Coombes’ volleyed opener just before halftime but the victory was earned by Auckland’s ability to first absorb and then build pressure.
Trailing 1-3 after the first leg, the pressure would’ve have been building on the three-time champions, and while they had they lead the possession and territory stakes in the first half, Manawatu looked comfortable on the ball and threatened at times to unlock City’s defence.
Jason Hayne was again the main threat for the visitors and without the suspended Raf de Gregorio and Gustavo Saralegui, an away goal was always likely to involve Hayne, and he was just inches wide with a 37th minute snap shot.
But after a couple of half chances for Auckland the home side finally released some of the weight on their shoulders when a corner was cleared only as far as Coombes a couple of metre outside the box, and the winger picked his spot at the far post and fired Auckland in front.
“It was nice to score in the first half, said Auckland captain Ivan Vicelich, “We knew we had to get a lot of goals and so to get one in the first half took some of the pressure off.”
The goal clearly rocked Manawatu as much as it buoyed Auckland for the second half’s opening was all in City’s favour.
“That goal just before halftime was a killer, said Manawatu coach Bob Sova, not so much because it was depressing for us but it was a lift for them.”
“If we had gone in 0-0 at halftime, the game from there would’ve been completely different.”
With Manawatu retreating into their shells, Auckland took advantage of the momentum creating two headed chances to Matt Williams and bossing Manawatu in midfield.
In his first game back since another operation on his troubled knee, little to no training under his belt, and only moments on the field as a 71st minute substitute the league’s all time leading scorer stepped up to convert the spot-kick won by Grant Young for a clumsy tackle by Scott Robson in the box.
Two nil up on the day, Auckland were level on aggregate and ahead on away goals, but with Manawatu just one goal away from tipping the semi-final scales back in their favour, the game opened up, gaps started to appear in Manawatu’s defence and Auckland increasingly found them.
It is very dangerous to sit on 2-0, because if they nick one they’re back in it again, said Vicelich.
“We just told the boys to keep attacking and keep putting the pressure on.”
Coombes sailed through on goal and Marsh saved well at his feet, but it was only a warning as Jordan made no mistake when he raced clear of his marker with three minutes of normal time remaining.
Hayne had a late chance to send the tie to extra time during five minutes of nervous time-added-on, but there was to be no repeat of last week’s late stunner, and Auckland were through to a next Sunday’s grand final with a chance of wrestling the trophy from rivals Waitakere.
Photos: Shane Wenzlick www.phototek.co.nz
12. Jacob Spoonley (GK)
12. Chris Marsh (GK)
3. Matt Friel
2. Nelson Sale (out 85)
5. Matt Williams (out 71)
4. Jan Weissenfeldt
6. Ki-Hyung Lee
10. Adam Cowan (Captain)
7. James Pritchett
11. Scott Robson (out 79)
8. Chad Coombes
7. Jason Hayne
9. Paul Urlovic (out 63)
20. Alick Maemae
10. Grant Young (out 79)
3. Pablo Yackson
13. Alex Feneridis
22. Cory Chettleburgh
15. Ivan Vicelich (Captain)
14. Nik Tromp
20. Greg Uhlmann
17. Isaac Duker
1. John Fletcher (RGK)
23. Matt Boren (RGK)
4. Riki van Steeden
8. Nathan Cooksley
14. Keryn Jordan (in 71)
13. Willie Hodge
24. Milos Nikolic (in 63)
15. Dave Boyack (in 85)
25. Adam McGeorge (in 76)
18. Finlay Milne (in 79)
=2 yellow cards
= red card
Welcome to Kiwitea Street for teh second leg of the second NZFC semi final between Auckland City and YoungHeart Manawatu. The stands are slowly filling up, and the pitch is bathed in sunshine today. Manawatu bring with them a 3-1 lead from the home leg but are without Raf de Gregorio and Gustavo Saralegui who are suspended.
Just to run through the scenarios, Auckland need to win by at least 2 goals to go through. A 2-0 win sends City through on away goals while 3-1 would take the game to extra time. If Manawatu can score twice then Auckland need to win by three clear goals
Ten minutes away from a 2.05 kick off. The more observant of you will notice that Keryn Jordan is back and on the bench for Auckland City. Probably a welcome sign for an Auckland side that must score today.
Teams are coming on the pitch. Auckland in blue, and YoungHeart in green (trust me).
Peter O'Leary gets us underway, with Auckland playing away from teh clubhouse.
A long throw from Auckland is nodded on by Vicelich. It almost falls for Coombes inside the area but the danger is cleared.
After a few minutes bit of forceback, Manawatu break through Hayne. He beats one, tries to tap it round Prtchett but can't get catch up with it and ends up fouling the fullback.
Grant Young takes out Adam Cowan with his elbow when going up for a header but escapes with a warning from O'Leary.
Neither side can grab the uperhand here. Nice interplay from YoungHeart but it breaks down looking for that final killer pass to unlock teh Auckland defence.
Speaking of defence, Nelson Sale is playing centreback for Manwatu. Must be the shortest centre-back ever
Manawatu are beginning to spray the ball about a bit now, at leats when they get forward.
Hayne cuts in from the right, loking to free hmself for a shot, but finds no room and his lay-off misses it's target.
A wide free kick from Lee is headed out for a corner. Urlovic gets his head to the corner but it loops over harmlessly
Hayne is testing Jame Pritchett on YHM's right flank. Intrguing battle brewing there.
YHM not afraid to string the passes together. Looking pretty confident at this stage.
a low cross from Urlovic is cut out by Robson with Grant Young loooming dangerously.
Matt Willimas chops Cory Chettleburgh and recieves the game's first card.
Free kick is cleared by Vicelich, poorly, but a Manwatu player fouls Greg Uhlmann trying to gather the ball.
Grant Young bursts through two or three would-be tacklers and pulls teh bal back accross the face of goal. A moment of uncertainty for YHM but a green boot beats Urlovic to the ball. It would've been fair to say that would've been against the run of recent play.
Superb interplay between Tromp, Chettleburgh and Hayne sets Hayne free behind the Auckland defence but is cross is woeful.
Ivan Vicelich turns in the box but his shot/cros is blocked, down teh other end a long ball from Chettleburgh just evades Hayne.
A goal either side now would really set this game alight.
It almost comes from Chettleburgh who lashes a shot from 22 yrads that is tipped over by Spoonley
Hayne keeps the corners close to Spoonley who gloves them out over the line.
Hayne is brought down out wide. Dangerous delivery into the box but a foul from Manawatu.
Hayne wriggles free just outside the box but his snap shot is inches wide.
GOAL! A corner is cleared straight to Coombes, who volleyed it into the back corner from about 25 yards. Manawatu will be feeling much less relaxed now - you have to say that was a litle against the run of the play.
Halftime: Auckland have half the job done, but the games is still delicately balanced. A goal from Manawatu would turn it the tie on its head.
Apologies for the technical difficulties which have prevented regular updates. We'll catch up...
Auckland have started the half with much more energy and are really taking the game to the visitors. Feneridis shoots wide.
Young tries to curl a shot in but it won't come round ebough.
Alex Feneridis crosses but Matt Williams puts his header wide
Willimas gets another header but Marsh saves well to tip it over
Manawatu have gone into their shells as Lee floats a ball in for Urlovic who glances wide
SUB Auckland - Milos Nikolic replaces Urloivic
Keryn Jordan enters the game, replacing Matt Williams
Penalty! Scott Robson takes down Grant Young just inside the area. Jordan will take it.
Jordan smashes past Marsh who went the right way but couldn't catch up with it. Auckland are now leading on away goals. the aggregate scores are tied at 3-3.
Grant Young is replaced by Adam McGeorge. Can Auckland protect their lead?
Scott Robson is replaced by Finn Milne for YHM
The game getting a bit scrappy now as Sale puts an aerial challeng on Jordan but comes off second best.
Sale still down. The stretcher comes on but he walks off. He won't continue though and Dave Boyack replaces him.
Auckland are holding on but a Manawatu goal would send tehm through. They just haven't looked liked scoring since halftime.
Goal! Keryn Jordan outstrips the defence and one-on-one puts Auckland 3-0 up. it's 4-3 on aggregate. If Manawatu can score we'll go to extra time.
Chad Coombes is through on goal but Marsh blocks the shot to keep Manawatu in it.
Five minutes of extra time....
Auckland playing in Manawatu's half...
Hayne runs acsoos the 18-yard box but his shot doesn't really trouble Spoonley
Fulltime! Auckland have won 3-0 on the day to clinch the semi-final 4-3 on aggregate. They'll meet arch rivals Waitakere United next Sunday at Douglas Field.