SFSF, Apia: Last Saturday’s draw threw up some interesting match-ups but in the end there were no surprises with the weather once again playing havoc. Meanwhile, Sogi continued its winning streak at the expense of a disappointing Vaivase-tai.
Despite the torrential overnight rain for another consecutive week, the No 1 field was in good condition, however the top field following the deluges of recent weeks remains very soggy. As a result, fixtures were close to being postponed but finally went ahead with conditions more suited to ducks than players.
Sogi this week took on a struggling Vaivase-tai team who were hoping to improve dramatically on their poor start to the season. The game never really hit any high spots and in what was really a very one-sided affair, a lacklustre Sogi, did just enough at the end of each half to retain the trophy.
Following much huff and puff be no real penetration up front to cause Vaivasetai much concern Sogi finally broke the deadlock in the 44th minute when an almighty scramble ended with Ben Timo sliding the ball into an empty net much to the relief of his team and supporters.
The second half continued in the same vein with Vaivasetai failing to mount any sort of challenge. Molesi Tokuma in the Sogi goal remained a spectator as Sogi dominated but failed to break down the resolute white defence. Finally in the 90th minute a defence-splitting pass once again found Ben Timo who gleefully despatched a left foot shot beyond the advancing keeper. Game, set and match, but not convincing. Nevertheless the result is on the board and the trophy remains in Sogi.
Newcomers Central United took on Lupe ole Soaga with United having the ability to upset the best on their day. When going into the break with a 1-0 lead, a win also looked on the menu. However Lupe who have been quietly strengthening their squad came back with three unanswered goals in the second half, winning 3-1 with a brace coming from new signing and Manumea hopeful Afasene Tusitala.
Moamoa clashed with Moataa and ran out comfortable winners 3 goals to nil but conditions did not help. Congratulations to both teams in trying conditions.
National League Champions, Lepea met Sinamoga on the top field and credit must go to the sides for trying to play good football on the waterlogged field. Both sides continued to pass the ball around and despite many chances going begging, including a first half penalty miss by Sinamoga, an entertaining 0-0 draw materialised. How Lepea miss Michael Toleafoa and Des Faaiuaso! Without these two, Lepea’s front line looks short of goals and lacking that bite seen so often last year.
Kiwi took on a new look Manumea shadow national team. This was at times an entertaining, if not one sided game with players on both sides, looking to impress National Coach David Brand in the last of the trial games before the Manumea Samoa Squad is selected on Tuesday. Manumea dominated much of the possession and several chances went astray before finally Junior Michael slotted home his 4th goal in 2 appearances since returning to the island last week. 1-0 to Manumea but Joseph Hoeflich caught the Manumea defence napping when straight from the kick off he raced away down the left to strike a rising drive past the flat footed Valu Numia at the near post. 1-1 at the break and the game continued as it had left off, with Manumea having much of the ball, but finding difficulty in breaking down the massed Kiwi defence.
Michael scored again late on, but had the goal disallowed and in the game ended in a draw much to the disappointment of a philosophical National Coach.
“Yes the result was disappointing but not unexpected. Kiwi did well getting many players behind the ball and it was our job to try and break it down. Missed opportunities in the first half kept them in it and we paid the price and ultimately ran out of ideas. Nevertheless there were many pleasing aspects and the boys did try to play to instructions, which is also not easy, when a team is thrown together,” Brand commented post game.
“The result however is not that important and Malo and I were able to see what the boys could do with the final squad selection just around the corner,” he said. Tuesday is the day when the National Coach will finalise a squad that will hopefully travel to New Zealand for 3 preparatory games prior to the World Cup Qualifiers in May.
In the Ladies Cup Kiwi had too many guns firing for Moamoa, to once again take home the trophy for the fourth week running after a 3-0 victory. Moamoa were gallant in defeat but Central are looming on the horizon in a couple of weeks following the demolition of Faatoia.