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Fabrizio Tavano returns to Auckland City FC

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

One of Auckland City FC's heroes of their bronze medal dash has returned to the club to boost the Navy Blues ASB Premiership hopes.

Fabrizio Tavano, 22, left the Navy Blues shortly after they returned from Morocco to sign for Mexican club Tigres UNAL.

Tavano had a trial with Major League Soccer club Dallas FC but when that didn't work out coach Ramon Tribulietx snapped him up with the Navy Blues about to take on Southern United in Dunedin on Thursday night.

"Fabrizio is a very versatile player as he can play in midfield naturally and also up front.

"He is full of passion for the game, competitive, technically very skilful and has a very good understanding of the game the way we want to play it.

"You can't fault his work-rate out of possession which is very good and I think it is great for us to have him back until the end of the season," Tribulietx said.

While Tavano will be expected to shake up the Navy Blues, Tribulietx said he hoped Christchurch had seen the last of their own seismic concerns following last Sunday's aborted ASB Premiership match with Canterbury United.

The Navy Blues flight was diverted to Wellington as the 5.7 magnitude quake took place. The game has since been switched to Wednesday 24 February at the same venue.

"It came as a bit of a shock when we entered a holding pattern after Christchurch suffered an earthquake and we couldn’t land.

"We didn’t know how bad it was but the first thing that crosses your mind are the people of Christchurch and you hope everyone is alright.

"We were diverted to Wellington airport and as when we landed we learned the game had been called off. But it was a shock for everyone," he said.

Southern United has endured a torrid season with just one win from 12 games and in line to equal the record low of just three points set by YoungHeart Manawatu back in 2011-12 season.

YoungHeart Manawatu failed to win a single game in that campaign pulling together three draws, a record Southern United have at least avoided.

Its been 10 years since Southern United, or their predecessors Otago United, beat Auckland City FC but perhaps in their favour is the Navy Blues run of three games 10 days.

"Its difficult for us again to have the last three games of the regular season in quick succession and then go straight into the semifinals.

"We know it is hard for players to combine mid-week fixtures with day jobs and we are now have two mid-week games in front of us with potentially a third with one semi-final scheduled for Thursday 3 March.

"On the other hand a busy lead up to the semi-finals gives most players an opportunity to get some game time and that keeps a competitive edge among the squad and that is good," Tribulietx said.

Auckland City FC has won 17 and drawn three of its last 20 matches with Southern United.

Thursday's match kicks off at 7.35pm NZST and will be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

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