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City set for Central Coast challenge

The friendly is just as good an opportunity for the City players as it will give them a taste of what to expect at the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup, where they will face sides of a similar standing.
Auckland qualified for the Club World Cup thanks to a title win in the 2011 O-League and will head to Japan to compete in the event, which takes place from December 8 to 18.
They will be the only amateur side at the prestigious tournament so the chance to face some fully professional opposition in their build-up is a godsend for coach Ramon Tribulietx, who is also looking to prepare his men for the upcoming O-League and domestic ASB Premiership seasons.
The Mariners are one of the strongest outfits in Australia and finished runners-up to the Brisbane Roar in last season’s A-League. Graham Arnold’s charges came within a whisker of taking the title, drawing the final 2-2 in extra time before losing the resulting penalty shootout 4-2.
Former Australia international Arnold has brought a full strength side across the ditch for the short tour of New Zealand, a trip that began with a 2-0 victory over fellow A-League side Wellington Phoenix on Sunday in front of 3,000 fans in Tauranga.
Dutch defender Patrick Zwaanswijk and young striker Bernie Ibini-Isei were both on target in that match as the Mariners maintained their unbeaten preparation for the A-League season, which begins for them with a repeat of last season’s final against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on October 8.
The Central Coast line-up also includes the likes of All Whites midfielder Michael McGlinchey and Socceroos striker Matt Simon while New Zealand fans will be familiar with a few other names in the squad. Troy Hearfield and Adam Kwasnik have both played in this country for the Phoenix while fullback Josh Rose was an inaugural squad member of the now-defunct New Zealand Knights.
As well as being good preparation for the Club World Cup, the Mariners match is part of City’s build-up for the ASB Premiership and the defence of their O-League title, which both kick off in late October.
Trans-Tasman Football Challenge
Auckland City vs Central Coast Mariners
Wednesday 28 September
Croatian Cultural Society
161 McLeod Road, Henderson
Kick-off: 7.15pm local time
Adults $10, children under 15 free
Gates open from 6.15pm (food and drinks available from this time)
Auckland City: (from) 1. Jacob SPOONLEY (GK), 3. Ian HOGG, 4. Sam CAMPBELL, 5. Angel BERLANGA, 6. Chad COOMBES, 7. James PRITCHETT, 8. David MULLIGAN, 9. Manel EXPOSITO, 10. Luis CORRALES, 11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC, 12. Liam LITTLE (GK), 13. Alex FENERIDIS, 14. Adam DICKINSON, 15. Ivan VICELICH, 16. Albert RIERA, 17. Adam McGEORGE, 18. Paul GOTHARD (GK), 19. Daniel MORGAN, 20. Emiliano TADE, 22. Andrew MILNE, 23. Stephen CARMICHAEL, 25. Halili NAGIME (GK).
Central Coast Mariners: (from) 1. Mat RYAN (GK), 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Pedi BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9. Bernie IBINI-ISEI, 10. Adriano PELLAGRINO, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Brad McDonald, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Michael BAIRD, 18. Alex WILKINSON, 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Nathan DENHAM, 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK.
Coach: Graham ARNOLD

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