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Auckland Tanty

Waitakere United 4, Auckland City 1
Trusts Stadium, Auckland, February 26 2017

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Waitakere came back from a goal down to beat Auckland City 4-1 yesterday, in what had to be one of the most sensational capitulations you will ever see from a team with the pedigree of Auckland City FC.

Man, when they lose the plot they really lose the plot don’t they? I’m still reeling myself, just from watching it all unfold!

The visitors took a thoroughly well-deserved lead in the 13th minute via the head of Emiliano Tade and continued to dominate proceedings from there. At that point in time there was no reason why they shouldn’t have gone on to win the game with relative ease. Little did we know that things were soon to take quite a… let’s say *unique* turn!

It was well and truly against the run of play when, just beyond the half hour mark, Keegan Linderboom scored directly from a quickly taken free kick. City’s players were apoplectic. They surrounded the referee pleading with him to disallow the goal, but nothing doing. Tade went into the book for flinging the ball into the ground in anger and looking back later, this appears to be the point when the team in blue started to let their frustrations get the better of them.

With just a handful of minutes remaining in the first half, Stefan Thelen gave the home side an unexpected lead with a long speculative ball from distance that should have been dealt with by the City keeper but wasn’t. It was 2-1 to the underdogs, and then the real drama started.

A short while after play had restarted, right in front of the incredulous Waitakere bench, Ryan Cain gave Fabrizio Tavano a shove. Tavano retaliated with what looked like a bit of a slap to the face of Cain. Then all hell broke loose… There was an all in brawl/shovefest, then a referee conflab, then a yellow for Cain and red for Tavano. Cue more consternation from City players before Tavano finally accepted his fate and trudged off…

But before the ejected player made it into the sheds there was still time for one last altercation with some fans high up in the stands who shouted something that he took exception to. He appeared, from where I was standing, to rather forcefully invite them to come down and say whatever it was to his face before City staff bundled him indoors…

And with that, it was half time!

Even down to ten men, City looked well capable of getting back into the match. Then they lost Albert Riera to a second yellow.

Even down to nine men, City looked well capable of getting back into the match. Then Darren White must have decided to show some solidarity with his two fallen comrades and duly earned himself a straight red.

And so it was eight versus eleven with half an hour still to play, and that was only ever going to result in one thing – more goals for the westies. The home side patiently probed away until they wore their thinly stretched opposition down and got the desired result. Julyan Collett was first to capitalise and then Scott Hilliar iced the cake with just a couple of minutes remaining.


That was going to be my last Stirling Sports Premiership game of the season, and it still might be. My interest has been waning quite a bit as the season winds down, my favourite team is well out of contention and I have grown more and more anxious to start delving into Northern League pre-season action.

But if there’s going to be more excitement like that, and if the final standings end up looking as interesting as they do now, I may well be back for another helping come the playoffs!

Final coffee machine watch: The winning number was 99. I had 93. I hate coffee, anyway. Horrible stuff. Keeps you up at night. Makes you pee. Blurch…

Categories: NZ Men's National 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.

3 replies

  1. I watched the game on tv and it looked that the ref wasn’t in control of the game. I’m sure Acfc players didn’t make it easy for him but the ref is experienced enough to handle it I reckon. On regards of the game first goal from waitakere comes from 2 terrible calls. First a foul on waitakere striker from Acfc defender that never was a foul and then when the ref was telling Acfc players to move backwards waitakere took the free kick and score. Then red car to tavano for retaliation but nobody says how he is pushed to the ground and then when the other player is touched he dives like he is being killed, I don’t know what’s worse. Then second yellow to riera for a clean challenge when the game still was on. And last red I think it is red as it was pretty reckless tackle. All in all I think the ref was not up to the standards of the game and made some terrible calls. I don’t know if when they go overseas to ref some World Cup they do it like this but I think it’s pretty embarrassing.

    1. The push to the head is clearly the worst offence in the Cain-Tavano sequence, and Cain got a yellow for his earlier push.

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