The Magenta players celebrate being crowned New Caledonia
champions. Photo: Stephen Thiebault
Just four days after losing the Coupe de Caledonie, Magenta coach Alain Moizan says it is finally time to smile as his side secured its first title since 2009.
“The team was rejuvenated Wednesday night with some young players and I had some concerns,” Moizan says.
“But we did what was necessary and knew to be effective when it was needed. The championship is always a task in consistency.
“It is gratifying to be crowned champions two days out from the end. We lost just two matches this season and we knew we had to react. I’m very satisfied.”
Following the defeat to Lössi last Saturday, Moizan says his side needed to focus on something other than the loss and his thoughts went straight to the match against Mouli and the opportunity to wrap up the championship early.
“We were inevitably disappointed because you can never be happy to lose a final,” he says.
“We needed to rebound and focus on something else and that thing was the championship, which remained unfinished. We had the ambition, the excitement and an objective to obtain which was to win the title which eluded us for two years.”
With Moizan still serving out a suspension that has kept him away from the sidelines, he relied on a walkie-talkie to communicate with his assistant Kevin Coma and the players during the match.
The two teams kept spectators on the edge of their seats for much of the first half before the champions finally got the scoring underway in the 38th minute.
Kalaje Gnipate did well to control a long pass which cut through Mouli’s defence to send a powerful shot under the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Just before the break, Magenta made it 2-0 when Jordy Xalite connected with a through ball to slot it just inside the right-hand post.
Mouli never gave up and continued to put pressure on Magenta’s defence with Shaffi Mandaoué finally managing to break it down in the 66th minute.
However Magenta dashed the Ouvéa team’s hopes when Paul Poatinda scored in the 84th minute to extend his side’s lead to 3-1.
The round 20 matches continue on Saturday with Lossi and Hienghène still duelling it out for second place in the championship.
The recent Coupe de Calédonie winners will face Quanono while Hienghène will be looking for a win against Tiga, with both matches to be played at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea.
Last season’s champions Mont-Dore have a difficult away match on the cards against Baco in Kone, while Thio will play bottom-placed Kunié at home.
For highlights of the match between Magenta and Mouli click here
For more on New Caledonia football go to www.fedcalfoot.com