Central stay red-hot despite red card
Central United football club’s defensive dominance has continued, despite being reduced to 10 men in their 1-0 win against Three Kings on Saturday.
Central’s lone goal scorer, Armin Pasagic, was sent off in the 81st minute during the Northern Regional Football League match, meaning his side had to work hard to keep their winning streak alive.
They did so successfully, and backed it up with a 7-0 win over Waitemata in the Chatham Cup just two days later.
The Chatham Cup was formed in 1923 and is New Zealand’s premier knockout football tournament, often involving between 120 to 150 teams across the country every year.
Central have now given up just five goals in an unbeaten patch that has extended to nine games, while scoring 28 of their own.
In the past six games, they’ve scored 21 goals with just one against and are the only side to have beaten league-leaders Onehunga.
Coach Aaron McFarland said both games on the weekend were a challenge considering the quick two-day turnaround.
‘‘Both games were very import- ant,’’ McFarland said.
‘‘To keep the momentum in the league we wanted to win that game, but we also wanted to be at the top of our game for Monday.’’
Waitemata shocked the football fraternity last year when they knocked Central out in the Chatham Cup. That memory proved helpful for the United side.
‘‘There was a lot of motivation to ensure we did everything we could to beat Waitemata yesterday,’’ McFarland said.
McFarland credited the team’s goalkeeper, Danyon Drake, who had been behind most of the five clean sheets the team has accumulated in the past six games.
The side will have only five days to recover this week as they face third-placed Glenfield away from home on Saturday.
That begins a tough threegame stint where they’ll face three of the top four sides including second-placed Birkenhead and fourth-placed Bay Olympic.
In light of the challenge, McFarland said that’s exactly what his team wanted.
‘‘If we’ve got any chance of winning the league, we want to be playing the teams that are above us to peg them back,’’ he said.
Their next Chatham Cup opponent is yet to be decided.
Central United’s Danyon Drake punches the ball clear during an NRFL match against Three Kings.