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Two teams in Waitakere

Auckland City 3, Auckland United 1
Croatian Cultural Society, Auckland, January 26 2014

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One team in Waitakere,
There’s only one team in Waitakere,
One team in Waitakereeeeeeeeeee,
There’s only one team in Waitakere…

Such was the tune of the Ultras of Auckland City last time I paid a visit to their alternative home ground, where they were taking great delight in taunting their most hated rivals. But at the Croatian Cultural Society (which is technically within the boundaries of the old Waitakere City) today, there were two teams in Waitakere, and neither of them were from Waitakere. For this was the New Super City Derby, between Auckland’s city blues and united reds contested in the National Youth League.

This new rivalry is almost as young as they come, given this was only United’s third game in existence, and City’s rivalry with Waitakere has had many more years to fester into what it is today. You might therefore be forgiven for thinking that this one would have meant more to the newbies than the old hands, and maybe it did, but one of the things about derbies is they are always more juicy when there is something else on the line aside from bragging rights. And today there was, because these two sides were one and two on the table going in, both unbeaten but with City holding a two point advantage. For City, the extra motivation was to go five points clear and for United, a win was vital to stay in touch with the pace setters.

In the end though, the fixture didn’t really live up to the expectation.

Auckland United competed well, held onto possession, applied pressure and put themselves into some nice holes that culminated in a well-worked goal to their leading scorer – Al-Taaf Sahib. That breakthrough came three minutes away from what would have made for a great game had it been half time. However because City had squeezed the life out of them in the first half, a consolation goal is all it amounted to.

It was the other way around and then some in the opening stanza. City starved their opponents of possession, forcing them to feed off scraps. United had a couple of good opportunities on the counter that they could have scored from if they had been a bit more fortunate, but by the same token City could have had at least five. The boys in blue patiently bided their time, knocking it around the back, probing, until they found the right weak points, and then each one was dissected with poise and almost robotic monotony with their goals coming in the 22nd (Thomas Konusi), 32nd (Stephen Ashby-Peckham) and 43rd (Tinashe Marowa) minutes.

Thanks to that clinical display, the home side had earned the right to coast after the break with their three goal lead never looking seriously under threat. City simply possessed just that little bit more quality on this occasion, and that folks, was the ball game.

Except to say this. I knew Auckland City was rich and powerful and basically the Galactic Empire of New Zealand club football, but I had no idea how far and deep their long dastardly reach into the geopolitical and football worlds actually extended. What influence they wield. What barriers they can conquer. How on God’s green earth did they possibly manage to get Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani (they must have some serious dirt of some kind on one or both of them) to release Mario Balotelli to play on the left wing in the New Zealand ASB Youth League??? “Tinashe Marowa” my butt, it was Balo!! Questions will be asked…

That is all.

Categories: NZ Men's National Youth League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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