Suburbs and Auckland face contrasting fates
Two very different paths lie in front of Auckland sister clubs Eastern Suburbs and Auckland City FC in the Stirling Sports Premiership.
For Auckland City, a lastminute 2-1 win against Suburbs on Sunday ensured they won their fourth-straight minor premiership. They now look towards a two-week window of Oceania Football Confederation Champions League matches before the semifinals of the Stirling Sports Premiership in midMarch.
As for Suburbs - who desperately needed points in their final game on Sunday - the loss to Auckland City has their fate in the competition hanging by a thread.
They now have a two week wait as they pray Hamilton Wanderers do the impossible and beat Hawkes Bay - who are behind on the table by just one point - in the final round robin match of the premiership on March 19.
Suburbs coach Malcolm McPherson said the break was not ideal for his players who would be without sustained competition. But it gave them a good chance to regather, he said.
‘‘We’re going to give the boys a few days off,’’ McPherson said.
‘‘Mentally, I think it’d be good for them to have a break.’’
‘‘Fingers crossed that Hamilton do what probably no one is expecting them to do.’’
Auckland City’s Dae Wook Kim and Eastern Suburbs’ Osita Henry Chikere contest the ball in the air.