For AS Tefana it is also a must-win situation as the side needs a big win against a depleted Kiwi FC if they want to claim the now coveted best runners-up slot.
While Tefana performed well against New Caledonia it wasn’t their best performance as they missed some vital opportunities of their own, while allowing their opponents the space they needed to get in behind and finish.
With key defenders Angelo Tchen and Nicolas Vallar both suspended for this encounter the weight of keeping a clean sheet falls firmly on the shoulders of some of the side’s less experienced members.
What Tefana do have in their favour is the likes of Steevy Chong Hue and Jonathan Tefau who can do the business up-front, while midfielder Heimano Bourebare will need to be at the top of his game in order to keep the team’s dream of making the 2016 OFC Champions League semi-finals a reality.
Coach Sebastian Labayen knows his side lacked urgency against Magenta and pointed to that aspect of their game as one where improvements can be made.
“You have to have a positive mentality for things to go your way and we were too slow especially in our passing which allowed our opponents to press us,” he says.
For Kiwi FC things are more complicated than they expected at this stage in the competition. They had an historic victory against Nadi in their grasp on Monday but let discipline slip, and with it their lead. They will have some ground to make up in the eyes of their peers and fans back home in Samoa but it will be a hard mountain for them to climb.
Five key members of the squad suspended, including their talismanic leader Barry Lewis and experienced striker Desmond Faaiuaso. In addition they had four players sitting out their previous match with injuries and whether they will be able to appear tomorrow remains to be seen.
Coach Phineas Young knows his side is up against it and admits that the coaching staff will have to be inventive when it comes to fielding a competitive side.
In the second game, Magenta will be doing their utmost to earn three points and automatic qualification for the semi-finals. The side hasn’t exited the group stage of the Champions League since 2005 and they have a strong desire to do so after seeing debutants FC Gaitcha perform valiantly against Auckland City 12 months ago.
It’s a position the entire squad is desperate to achieve and they will be throwing their all at Nadi in order to secure that top spot in Group C.
For Nadi, like Kiwi FC, the next 90 minute match will be a tough one as they too struggle with a hugely depleted squad. Striker Napolioni Qasevakatini and goalkeeper Veret Dickson will be big losses to the side and leaves a lot of responsibility for Samuela Tamanisau as he gets set to make his competition debut against a much more experienced side.
Coach Kamal Swamy says as ever this competition has proven to be a learning curve for his side.
“This is a different type of competition and we officials need to be sitting down with the association and talking about how we can be better prepared next time Nadi comes to compete.”
AS Tefana vs. Kiwi FC
Auckland, New Zealand
Friday 15 April, 2016
Referee: Amos ANIO (PNG)
Assistant Referee 1: Glen LOCHRIE (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Norman BAFINU (PNG)
Fourth Official: Cambell-Kirk WAUGH (NZL)
The players: Taumihau Tiatia, Tauatua Lucas and Tunoa Tevaearai all performed with great determination in Tefana’s previous match and their talent for finding the back of the net will be greatly relied upon as the side looks to improve their goal difference in their final group game. The side has lost key defenders Angelo Tchen and Nicolas Vallar to suspension.
The vital statistics: Tefana actually had 54 per cent of possession against Magenta but only managed nine shots on goal. The majority of that possession was in their own half as they struggled to break into Magenta’s final third.
Coach quote: “The objective for us is to try and get second place and, whilst giving our opponents the utmost respect, we need to play our game and be effective in front of their goal so we can do the best we possibly can.”
Squad list: 1. Stevens HIRIGA (GK), 2. Yoann LE FOLL, 3. Taumihau TIATIA, 5. Tauatua LUCAS, 6. Tunoa TEVAEARAI, 7. Temarii TINORUA, 8. Heremoana HOATA, 9. Tauhiti KECK, 10. Steevy CHONG HUE, 11. Tehina TEMORERE, 12. Alvin TEHAU, 13. Stanley ATANI, 14. Jonathan TEHAU, 15. Jean Claude CHANG KOEI CHANG, 16. Manutea TAAE, 17. Manutahi TEREMATE, 18. Kaena ONUU, 19. Heimano BOUREBARE, 20. Olivier LEE, 23. Xavier SAMIN (GK), 29. Mikael ROCHE (GK)
Suspended: 21. Angelo TCHEN, 22. Nicolas VALLAR
Coach: Sebastian LABAYEN (TAH)
The players: A much diminished line-up will require the remaining squad members to step up into the breach. Mike Saofaiga showed pace and talent up the flank and is a proven threat to any defence. The Kiwi defence will be without Barry Lewis which will leave a big hole both defensively and in terms of leadership. Five Kiwi FC players will be serving out suspensions.
The vital statistics: Kiwi enjoyed very little possession against Nadi, just 37 per cent, but were much more effective in front of goal than their opponent. They had just eight shots, five of which were on-target, and managed three goals from those efforts.
Coach quote: “We have three red carded, four injured and we will have to rest and management will have to think about what we will do in the next game.”
Squad list: 1. Faalavelave MATAGI (GK), 2. Henry PUPI, 3. Michael BURETA, 4. Lapalapa TONI, 6. Beato APANAI, 7. Jarrell SALE, 8. Thomas HEROWAI, 11. Paulo SCANLAN, 12. Mike SAOFAIGA, 14. Penitito TUMUA, 16. Luki GOSCHE, 17. Isaia FEALOFANI, 18. Lafi IOANE (GK), 19. Fenika TAMOTO, 20. Silao MALO, 22. Faafua ATAGA (GK)
Suspended: 5. Lawrie LETUTUSA, 9. Barry LEWIS, 10. Desmond FAAUIASO, 13. Lionel TAYLOR, 15. Tomas MOSQUERA
Coach: Phineas YOUNG (SAM)
Nadi FA vs. AS Magenta
Auckland, New Zealand
Friday 15 April, 2016
Referee: Joel HOPKKEN (VAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Gareth SHEEHAN (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Hilmon SESE (VAN)
Fourth Official: Nelson SOGO (SOL)
The players: The roles of players like Mataiasi Toma, Luke Rawadamu and Vuniuci Tikomaimereke will become even more crucial in this encounter given that Nadi is down to just the bare minimum in terms of numbers. Three members of the squad are serving suspensions for this match.
The vital statistics: Nadi had 26 shots at goal but with only five of them on-target they need to work on their finishing. It is unlikely they will see as much possession as the 63 per cent they had against Kiwi and now will they have as many opportunities so the side will need to make the most of any chances that come their way.
Coach quote: “We will be looking at the game they played before us and work out the structure, the system we will play. At least a draw will be a bonus to us.”
Squad list: 1. Samuela TAMANISAU (GK), 2. Luke RAWADAMU, 3. Rahul KRISHNA, 4. Andrew NAICKER, 6. Anish KHEM, 7. William VALENTINE, 8. Munit KRISHNA, 9. Vuniuci TIKOMAIMEREKE, 10. Evander NAVOSA, 11. Ilimotama JESE, 12. Ame VOTONIU, 13. Lekima GONERAU, 14. Mataiasi TOMA, 16. Eliki RAVOSAI, 17. Afraz ALI
Suspended: 5. Waisake TABACAVA, 15. Napolioni QASEVAKATINI, 23. Vereti DICKSON (GK)
Absent: 18. Atonio TUIVUNA
Coach: Kamal SWAMY (FIJ)
The players: Veteran Pierre Wajoka has been clear about his desire to win the 2016 OFC Champions League before he retires and his on-field efforts against AS Tefana reflected his absolute determination to make that dream a rea
lity. His movement on and off the ball belied his age and he was one of the side’s most outstanding contributors. His understanding of the game and the tactics of his coach, coupled with his leadership abilities made for a man-of-the-match performance.
The vital statistics: Magenta may not have enjoyed the majority of possession but they took their chances whenever they could notching 24 shots with half of them finding the target. They were rarely challenged at the back as evidenced by just two goal kicks and two corners for Tefana – a trend they’d like to continue against Nadi.
Coach quote: “We are determined to qualify for the semi-finals.”
Squad list: 1. Jelen IXOEE (GK), 2. Jean-Christ WAJOKA, 3. Georges BEARUNE, 5. Jean Brice WADRIAKO, 6. Cedric SANSOT, 7. Noel KAUDRE, 8. Marius BAKO, 9. Marek AUCHER, 10. Pierre WAJOKA, 11. Mickael TIAOU, 12. Joel WAKANAMUNE, 13. Patrick DIAKE, 14. Kevin NEMIA, 15. Pierrot JELEWED, 16. Leopold MAKALU, 17. Gregory TARAMOIN, 18. Joris GORENDIAWE, 19. Jeremy DOKUNENGO, 20. Bill NICHOLLS, 21. Noarii FORTEZ, 29. Leon IXOEE (GK), 30. Victor MESSEAUD (GK)
Suspended: 4. Loic WAKANUMUNE
Coach: Alain MOIZAN (FRA)