Waikato thumped but take solace from second half
The gulf in class between the league's haves and have-nots was again cruelly exposed in Auckland yesterday as Waikato FC received another tonking.
Auckland City struck five times in the first half en route to a 7-1 victory against a Waikato side that will now seek at least a point in their final home match against Otago United this weekend to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of the 2012-13 ASB Premiership.
A home side full of classy imports and internationals ripped through Mark Cossey's side almost at will at Kiwitea St.
The visitors weren't helped by having defender Raymond How sent off in the 43rd minute but from the resulting penalty they were 4-0 down with the damage done.
The loss was Waikato's seventh in a row - a new "record" for the franchise which replaced coach Declan Edge prior to Christmas but has been unable to beat anyone bar fellow strugglers Manawatu and Otago.
Cossey admitted his side was helpless to stop the rout.
"We knew how Auckland were going to play but we still couldn't stop them," Cossey told the premiership website (asbpremiership.co.nz).
"For the first 30 minutes they were on fire. At halftime I said ‘let's go and win the second half'. We just had to show more commitment."
Auckland opened the scoring in the 11th minute when recent signing from the Kazakhstan first division Gustavo Souto Sampredo scored and he doubled their advantage in the 24th minute with a spectacular scissor-kick finish from a James Pritchett cross.
Five minutes later Alex Feneridis made it three and Waikato fell further into the hole just before halftime when How pulled back Sampredo, was red-carded by referee Nick Waldron and Adam Dickinson converted the spot-kick past Waikato goalkeeper Jason Mann.
There was still time before the halftime whistle for Manel Exposito to make it five and while Gurjeep Singh got Waikato on the scoreboard after a solo effort 10 minutes into the second spell, substitute Emiliano Tade restored the five-goal margin just four minutes later when he volleyed home after Mann could only block a header from Feneridis.
Auckland could have added more in the remainder of the half as they threatened to at least match Waikato's heaviest defeat, a 9-1 humiliation by league leaders Waitakere United in Hamilton last month.
However, a combination of last-ditch defending and wayward finishing kept the score from progressing until Chris Bale netted in the last minute of regulation time.
"We got that goal and we also managed to keep the ball in patches. The positive was we kept them down to scoring just the two goals," Cossey said.