‘Freak­ish’ in­ci­dent side­lines Spa­niard from City side

Auckland City Harbour News - - Sport - By Jeremy Ruane and Scott Mor­gan

Auck­land City and reign­ing Ocea­nia Cham­pi­ons League ti­tle-hold­ers Waitakere United kicked off the 20089 ver­sion of the com­pe­ti­tion with a typ­i­cally fierce 2-2 draw on Sun­day.

City’s cap­tain Ivan Vicelich and for­mer Barcelona player Xavi Roca made their re­spec­tive de­buts for the club at its Ki­witea St base.

But the Spa­niard didn’t see out the game af­ter he was stretchered from the park 10 min­utes be­fore half­time thanks to a knee in­jury in­curred in a tackle.

“He’s fit­ted in re­ally well. It’s a real shame, but it’s one of those freak­ish things,” City coach Colin Tuaa says.

The ex­tent of Roca’s in­jury isn’t clear, al­though he’s ex­pected to be out of action for at least the next cou­ple of weeks.

Waitakere drew first blood on the score­board with Aaron Scott and Daniel Ko­priv­i­cic com­bin­ing to present Ben­jamin To­tori with a scor­ing chance, which he con­verted in the 21st minute.

But it wasn’t long be­fore City replied thanks to su­per- Keryn Jor­dan, who en­tered the fray as Roca’s re­place­ment and im­me­di­ately made an im­pact.

Af­ter twice go­ing close in­side the next 10 min­utes, he equalised on the stroke of half­time, racing through on goal be­fore round­ing Richard Gille­spie and tuck­ing the ball into an empty net.

Four min­utes af­ter the in­ter­val, Jor­dan fired City in front, ri­fling home a 20 yarder af­ter evad­ing the chal­lenges of Danny Hay and Neil Em­blen.

Soon af­ter the goal, Grant Young rat­tled the Waitakere cross­bar, as the reign­ing cham­pi­ons reeled un­der a spell of City pres­sure.

Al­though Waitakere’s new Brazil­ian-im­port Adri­ano Pi­menta missed a penalty 18 min­utes from time, Paul Seaman tied things up for the vis­i­tors one minute later.

With the ab­sence of Roca for the next few matches, Tuaa says he’ll need to ad­just his game plan, start­ing with City’s open­ing New Zealand Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship match against Otago on Sun­day.

It takes place at Ki­witea St with kick-off from 3pm.

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