Early goal helps Waitakere United to big scalp of neighbours Auckland City in premiership opener
Waitakere United upset Auckland City 1-0 to claim a big scalp on the opening day of the national league football season.
A stunning fifth minute header by Harrison Nash was enough for Waitakere to claim all the points at City's home ground at Kiwitea St.
Both Auckland sides opened the Stirling Sports Premiership a week before the other teams and the hosts were expected to be too strong with a star-studded roster including former Phoenix midfielder Albert Riera.
Another newcomer, goalkeeper Enaut Zubikarai, arrived with La Liga and Uefa Champions League experience with Real Sociedad.
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But he was beaten early by Nash's header, and the Waitakere defence was strong at the other end bolstered by Austrian goalkeeper Pirmin Strasser.
Auckland City placed the visitors' defence under intense pressure in the final 10 minutes and when an equaliser looked imminent, Riera had a shot cleared off the line then Nicolai Berry slammed one from close range into a wall of Waitakere defenders.
It was a big result for United under coach Chris Milicich, whose acquisitions included Strasser, German Stefan Thelen and Spaniard David Icardo Hernandez along with midfielder Ryan Tinsley and former All White Ian Hogg.
Auckland City host defending champions Team Wellington next Sunday when the remainder of the teams begin their campaigns.