AS Temanava can breathe a sigh of relief after a late penalty earned the Tahitian champions a share of the spoils with Fijian giants Ba in their Group B O-League fixture at the Stade Pater, Papeete, Tahiti, this evening.
Ba – who defeated Marist FC 2-0 in front of 17,000 fans in Honiara earlier this week – looked to be heading for their second consecutive O-League victory when AS Temanava goalkeeper Franck Revel spilled a Ba free kick at the feet of Fijian skipper Roneel Kumar who gratefully bundled the ball into the back of the net after 28 minutes.
AS Temanava rallied creating several chances but were denied by good goalkeeping from Ba’s Laisenia Tuba in a fascinating and dramatic encounter that provided end to end entertainment in front of a parochial home crowd of just over 1,500.
Kumar’s goal appeared to give Ba ample breathing space in a fast and furious first half as AS Temanava – struggling to hold onto a playoff spot in their domestic championship – turned in a spirited display despite being unable to penetrate Ba’s defence. But with the match flowing from end to end at an unremitting pace and in stifling conditions both teams engaged in a series of raw boned tackles that saw New Zealand referee Peter O’Leary issue a flurry of yellow and red cards that set up a dramatic finish to the evening.
AS Temanava were rewarded for their dogged second half performance with a penalty with just 12 minutes remaining which Jean Francois Kabeu duly converted. However the joy was short-lived when substitute Rudolphe Toromona flew into a reckless challenge and was red carded in the 87th minute.
With the home side reduced to ten men and only having just leveled the match Toromona’s red card set up a tense finish as Ba committed players forward seeking to win the game in its dying moments. However, Ba were soon seeing a red card of their own when Shalen Lai was ordered off after committing his second bookable offence after 94 minutes.
Ba now has control of O-League Group B with four points out of a possible six in both their away fixtures. AS Temanava sit in second spot with one point while Marist FC are third and yet to register a point.
AS TEMANAVA: Franck REVEL; Georges WATTON, Daly WATHA, Maheanuu ARAPARI, Weliver Neti CLARK (Rudolphe TOROMONA 62), Jean Francois KABEU, Roberto POIROI (Tevaihau TEHURITAUA 90), Rene SALOA (Heirani TEVERO 40), Pierre KUGOGNE, Ael Luc KUGOGNE, Ionatana Aldo VAHINE.
SUBS NOT USED: Rachid Faretahi ARNAUD, Alfred GEWINE, Patua TETUANUI.
Yellow cards: Ionatana Aldo VAHINE, Ael Luc KUGOGNE.
Red cards: Rudolphe TOROMONA.
Goals: Jean Francois KABEU 78th min (pen).
BA FC: Laisenia TUBA; Shalen LAI, Roneel KUMAR, Jone VESIKULA, Keni DOIDOI (Ronald CHANDRA 62), Josaia BUKALIDI, Robert WISE, Finau PENI, Osea VAKATALESAU (Tuimasi MANUCA 22), Malakai TIWA, Malakai KAINIHEWE.
SUBS NOT USED: Epeli CODRO, Luke VIDOVI, Leone VURUKANIA, Avinesh SWAMI.
Yellow cards: Malakai TIWA, Roneel KUMAR, Laisenia TUBA,
Red cards: Shalen LAI.
Goals: Roneel KUMAR 28th min.
Referee – Peter O’LEARY (New Zealand)
Assistant Referee – Paul DUNHAM (New Zealand)
Assistant Referee – Brent BEST (New Zealand)
Fourth Official – Michael HESTER (New Zealand)
3 – Paul URLOVIC (Auckland City), Commins MENAPI (Waitakere United), Grant YOUNG
2 – Daniel KOPRIVCIC (Waitakere United), Bryan LITTLE (Auckland City)
1 – Osea VAKATALESAU (Ba FC), Laisenia TUBA (Ba FC), Danny HAY (Waitakere United), Allan PEARCE (Waitakere United), Hoani EDWARDS (Waitakere United), Patrick DIAIKE (AS Mont Dore), Roneel KUMAR (Ba FC), Jean Francois KABEU (AS Temanava).