Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Champions League 2013 > Trio post wins on Champions League opening day

Trio post wins on Champions League opening day

Defending champions Auckland picked up where they left off in the previous season by defeating Mont-Dore 2-0 while Ba accounted for 2010 winners Hekari United 3-1 and Amicale posted a 2-0 success over Solomon Warriors. In the only match where a winner couldn’t be found, Tahitian champions and tournament newcomers Dragon will be the happier of the two sides after holding off a strong showing from Waitakere, installed as favourites for the titles by many observers, to return from New Zealand with a point.
“We came here to get a result,” coach Ludovic Graugnard said of his side’s maiden Champions League appearance.
“We put ourselves in danger in the first half because of technical and tactical problems. I thought we would have been better in the second half but Waitakere kept the pressure on us. They could have opened the scoring. We created some counter attacks but didn’t make the most of them. It is a good point for us which launches the competition well.”
Despite failing to take the expected three points, Waitakere coach Paul Marshall was pleased with the efforts of his men and felt the lack of an accurate finishing touch was all that was missing at the club’s Fred Taylor Park home.
“It’s fair to say we’re pretty disappointed. At times I felt we completely tore them apart and had about four or five clear scoring chances and unfortunately didn’t take those,” he said.
“I thought we defended extremely well for the entire match but we got punished because we didn’t take our chances. I think a fairer result would have been 3-0, at a minimum. Dragon is basically the Tahiti national team which is great for the competition and they’re a good side.”
His crosstown rival, Ramon Tribulietx of Auckland City, also witnessed his side fail to convert a handful of chances away to Mont-Dore but finally saw the net rustle when City scored twice in quick succession just after the hour mark. Spanish signing Gustavo Souto carried on his good form to open the scoring at Noumea’s Stade Numa Daly with a lob and, just six minutes later, fellow Spaniard Manel Exposito was brought down in the box, allowing Adam Dickinson to double the lead from the spot.
“It’s good to start with a win and it was a pretty good performance,” Tribulietx said. “We actually missed about five chances in the first half so it was a bit frustrating. But we dominated possession for long periods and managed to put two away so we have to be happy.”
Mont-Dore counterpart Stephane Drahusak thought the New Caledonia champions stood up well to Auckland and felt they could have pocketed a point.
“We’re happy to have kept Auckland to 0-0 up until half-time, but it’s disappointing not to have taken something from the match,” he said. “We went a goal down and then we couldn’t react quickly enough to prevent the second goal which came very soon after the first.”
It was the same scoreline in Honiara as the Solomon Warriors, another side making its debut in the tournament, could not mark their first outing with a win in front of a capacity crowd at Lawson Tama Stadium. Vanuatu visitors Amicale were in no mood to let Warriors ease into the Pacific’s premier club competition and went ahead when talisman Fenedy Masauvakalo curled a free kick home in the 64th minute.
The advantage was extended when striker Pape Gueye slotted home a penalty on 76 minutes after fellow Frenchman Aliou Traore was fouled inside the area. The win gives the Reds the ideal start as they look to repeat their heroics of 2011, when they made it all the way to the final before being beaten by Auckland City to finish runners-up.
“The result is not what we wanted but I felt that the boys played well today and in the end it came down to who took their chances,” Warriors coach Brendan Crichton said.
“We missed some good opportunities and at this level we need to ensure that we finish like we do in training. I am pleased with the first half but in the second half we let our guard down in the first 20 minutes and this allowed Amicale to take the advantage.”
Amicale opposite Richard Iwai was delighted to have beaten a side he rates highly.
“We came across expecting Solomon Warriors to be tough and today was a 50-50 match so I am pleased,” Iwai said. “It is extra special because it is the first time Amicale have won here at Lawson Tama – this is a milestone for our club.”
But it was Fiji’s Ba who had most reason to celebrate after their three strikes in defeating Hekari in Papua New Guinea put them at the top of the scoring chart.
It looked like the sides would go into the sheds at Port Moresby’s PMRL Stadium with the score at nil-all but Malakai Tiwa had other ideas and put the Men in Black ahead just before the half-time whistle. Hekari fought back soon after the break when Papua New Guinea international Kema Jack equalised on 50 minutes but the parity wasn’t to last long as Nigerian striker Sanni Issa pounced to make it 2-1 moments later.
That’s the way it stayed until deep into injury time when Tuimasi Manuca notched his side’s third to make the game safe and ensure Ba would return to their football-mad town with three points in tow.
The OFC Champions League returns this week with Solomon Warriors hosting Ba on Wednesday and Mont-Dore welcoming Dragon for the franchophone derby on Friday. The other two matches will take place on Saturday with Hekari meeting Amicale at home and Auckland making the short trip to crosstown rivals Waitakere.

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