Get ready for a taste of Barca

By ANENDRA SINGH sports editor

Auckland v HB Utd

Kiwitea Street

It's simply a case of boys to men when you look at what Auckland City will have in store tomorrow.

Put another way, it means if you can survive Waikato United's passing game then the Kinetic Electrical Hawke's Bay United will have to hit Kiwitea Street running at a different intensity in tomorrow's ASB Premiership clash.

Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx says the O-league highflyers will be playing a "possession-based game", in the fashion of Barcelona.

The 40-year-old Spaniard is a graduate of the brand of soccer Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates brought to the global centre stage when they taught Manchester United a lesson last year in a European league match.

No stranger to recruiting overseas players, the 2011 coach of the year has lured from his country Angel Berlanga, Manel Exposito and Albert Riera Vidal.

The other match-breaker is Costa Rican Luis Corrales.

However, Tribulietx is not too hot on history, emphasising the hosts will pay the Chris Greatholder-coached Bay United the utmost respect.

"Since Chris Greatholder took over, the side has been improving, especially in defence," he says, adding the injection of three players in pivotal positions has made a difference as both sides go into the match unbeaten, but City are overwhelming favourites.

Tribulietx is mindful that if his troops don't take the park with a 100 per cent attitude and effort tomorrow in the game which has a 2.30pm kick-off, then everything could turn to custard for them.

While 1-0 down to Otago United before clawing their way back to a 3-1 victory in Dunedin last weekend, Tribulietx says the circumstances were frustratingly different.

"We were playing against a 10-player team who fell deep. It's not even when you have nine men in front of the goal."

He says Auckland had 80 to 90 per cent of the ball and Otago only took one shot at goal to score in the 62nd minute.

Tribulietx feels his men showed strength and character to turn the result around.

While not sure what the Bay's attitude to the game is, he is aware former Waitakere United striker Sean Lovemore is their golden boot on four goals with Manawatu's Tom Masquera.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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