Striker Angus Kilkolly suffers injury setback ahead of FIFA Club World Cup

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Auckland City forward Angus Kilkolly has picked up an ankle injury ahead of next week’s FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco.

The club’s medical staff will treat Kilkolly (26) after X-rays on the ankle which was injured during City’s 1-0 loss to Korean champions Jeonbuk Motors in their warm-up game at the Futbol Salou Sports Complex, near Barcelona.

City head coach Albert Riera said:

“At this point we don’t really know the extent of the injury that Angus has. He’s taking an X-ray today so hopefully, we can get that done today and know what we have to deal with.

“It’s not the first time in these friendly games with professional sides that things can get a bit rough, especially in the second half.

“Some teams believe they have a right to walk onto the pitch and just beat us but I believe we competed very well and some of the tackles that went on I don’t think were right but that’s the way it goes.”

Kilkolly, who works as a painter decorator, has been rebuilding his fitness after suffering a serious knee injury in last season’s 5-3 win against Birkenhead United in the Northern League.

Main photo: Angus Kilkolly (right) … injury doubt ahead of big tournament. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Meanwhile, Riera was upbeat about the Navy Blues’ performance against Jeonbuk.

“We’re extremely happy because there were a lot of positive signs and I thought we gave a very good performance against a very strong team.

“Joenbuk Motors are one of the top teams not only in Korea, but in Asia, and I thought we played very well at a very good level.

“It took five minutes for our players to adjust to the speed of the game but after that they adapted well to what was required and I thought we went toe to toe with Jeonbuk Motors and probably should have been 1-0 up at the break,” he said.

Reunited … (from left) Emiliano Tade, Roman Tribulietx and Albert Riera. Photo: Auckland City FC.

One note of nostalgia was the welcome appearance of former Auckland City head coach Ramon Tribulietx.

Tribulietx led Auckland City to a bronze medal at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in 2014 and was most latterly assistant coach at Honved in Hungary before he paid a brief visit to see the City team.

“It was great to see Ramon. I played under him for a very long time and he is an incredible coach and a good friend,” Riera said.

“When we spoke, he had four or five quick observations to make, which was great, and any team who has his input is very lucky as he is so good at what he does.”

The Estadi Johan Cruff which is owned by Barcelona FC.

Auckland City’s final friendly match in Spain is against Barcelona B at the Estadi Johan Cryuff on Wednesday January 25, 2023.

The team leaves Spain for Morocco two days later to begin its run towards the FIFA Club World Cup playoff with Al Ahly.

Fixtures

Game to be played on Wednesday January 25, 2023

Auckland City v Barcelona B
Estadi Johan Cryuff, Barcelona, Spain (k/o TBC)

FIFA Club World Cup (1st round)

Game to be played on Thursday February 2, 2023

Auckland City v Al Ahly (Egypt)
Tangiers, Morocco (8am NZT)

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