Tribulietx has to go pro
In 2009, Auckland's assistant coach Ramon Tribulietx plotted a perfect tactical blueprint as his amateur Kiwi side finished fifth at the Club World Cup. This year, as head coach, he has gone at least one better.
The Spanish coach is a master planner. He's also wasted at ASB Premiership level. For the third straight game, Auckland's game plan was flawless against world class opposition.
They pressed high up the field to win balls back, were individually, and collectively brilliant in defence and were able to flick the switch in the second half and successfully chase the game.
It won't be long before the professional clubs come calling.
And so do some Auckland players
Auckland's back four are A-League quality.
Angel Berlanga, Marko Dordevic, John Irving and Takuya Iwata will have all shown up on pro scouts' radars, which is almost a poison chalice for Auckland.
If their players play too well, then they will soon be out the door. Tamati Williams also looked sure enough in goal to jump above Jake Gleeson and Oliver Sail in the All Whites goalkeeping pecking order.
Tade may have many sleepless nights
Emiliano Tade earned Auckland their spot at the Club World Cup with a cracking winner in the O-League final.
He was also one of Auckland's best players yesterday. But he may find himself stuck in a reoccurring nightmare if he spends too much time thinking about the glorious chance he had to put Auckland into the final against Real Madrid.
In the 75th minute, with the scores level and only the keeper to beat, Tade skewed a left footed shot wide from inside the box. What might have been....
Quality football is popular in NZ
Nzherald.co.nz's live blog of the game had over 100 thousand page views. In other words, it was one of the website's top five most popular sports story of the year, more viewed than our most read All Blacks story. The footballing audience is out there.