Caption: Nadi’s Uraia Loki in action against Auckland City during their opening group stage game at Churchill Park in Lautoka this afternoon, April 8. PHOTO: ANUSHIL KUMAR. For more photos, click here:- https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.649439858426783.1073742004.131483256889115&type=3
By ANUSHIL KUMAR
Defending champions Auckland City kick-started their OFC O-league campaign on a high overcoming Nadi FC 3-0 in their opening group stage encounter at Churchil Park in Lautoka this afternoon, April 8.
The match started on a high as both teams showed their hunger for the most awaited three points, however the reigning champions dominated most of the play in the first half.
Joao Moriera opened the flood gates in the 12th minute giving the City boys an early lead before Daewook Kim and Emiliano Tade added teo extras as Auckland City went to the brether with a 3-0 lead.
With encouraging words from the coach Kamal Swamy, the Vodafone and Shop N Save sponsored Nadi made a classic start of the second half pressuring the Auckland defense.
Pressure on the Nadi bench was immensed as lanky Samuela Drudru was shown a direct red card in the ending stages for a dangerous foul on Angel Berlanga.
Nadi tried their best to make a come-back but it was too late for the jetsetters to outclass the City defense to hit the net as Auckland came out victors.
Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx was happy with the result, however was not pleased with the way the match ended.
“I commend my boys for getting a good start, but I am not at all happy with the final outcome as we have lost a key player (Angel Berlanga) from our squad,” Tribulietx commented.
Nadi coach Kamal Swamy said his young players gave their best and was happy with the overall performance.
“My young boys did their best as it is after fifteen years that Nadi is in o-league and was the simple errors of our boys that allowed Auckland City to score,” Swamy said.
However, he was not happy with the referees decision.
“If Drudru was to be given a red card, the opposing player should have also been given the red card because he came in the air with his studs up,” Swamy added. “I remember Yogendra Dutt was also given the marching orders previously and I know if I did say anything to the officials, I would have been sent off the bench.”
Auckland City plays AS Dragon next on Friday while Nadi will battle Amicale FC.