2006 OFC Club Championships – Preliminary
Govind Park, Ba, Fiji
6 – 10 February 2006
Match Day 1 – Match 2
UNITED EAGLES TOO STRONG FOR TONGAN CHAMPS
Nadi count missed chances
United Eagles downed Tongan powerhouse Lotoha’apai FC 5-1 kicking off their 2006 OFC Club Championships – Preliminary campaign in Ba, Fiji in the best possible fashion.
The scoreline could have been higher had it not been for an inspired performance by Togan international goalkeeper Kavakava Manumu’a and some erratic finishing by the Fijian attackers.
Manumu’a sustained a leg injury after a collision with defender Stanlessly Mafi in the 17th minute, and `keeper-turned-striker Simione Tamanisau pounced to give the Nadi-based Eagles the lead. Tamanisau could have added a second four minutes later but his close-range shot smashed against the crossbar as Lotoha’apai struggled to clear from a corner.
Despite the early pressure, the physical Tongans equalized against the run of play through Inoke Vaihu. The big defender capitalized on a mix-up between goalkeeper Shamal Kumar and defender Marika Namaqa. The goal sparked a period of dominance for Lotoha’apai, before the Eagles took the lead back via Valerio Nawatu.
The Fijians entered the interval 2-1 ahead, but not before Taumanisau blazed over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
And there was no letting up after the resumption of play, with Manumu’a forced into a string of good saves as he thwarted wave after wave of Eagles attack.
Like the opening match between Nikao Sokattak and Tuanaimato Breeze, a red card proved to be the turning point, when Lotoha’apai goal scorer Vaihu was sent from the field in the 56th minute.
From that moment the match ended as a contest with Ovini Duguca extending the lead three minutes later. Duguca was then brought down in the box and Eagles `keeper Kumar, a spectator for most of the match, was summoned to take the penalty. His tame effort was saved as Manumu’a again turned hero for his side.
The introduction of the fresh legs in the form of Waisake Sabutu and Usaia Tudua caused havoc in the tiring Tongan defence, and Sabutu was rewarded with a brace of goals in the 81st and 88th minutes, both from close range.
But it could have been more for the Eagles as in between the goals they missed a series of clear chances as the scoreline threatened to reach double figures. Nevertheless, a win and three points for the Fijian side who entertain Nikao Sokattak on Match Day 2.
Lotoha’apai FC 1 (Inoke Vaihu 31′)
United Eagles 5 (Simione Tamanisau 17′, Valerio Nawatu 41′, Ovini Duguca 59′, Waisake Sabutu 81′, 88′)
Lotoha’apai FC – 1. Kavakava Manumu’a; 2. Kava Huihahau; 3. Inoke Vaihu; 4. Stanlessly Mafi; 6. Heimuli Leakona (14. Halapua Falepapalangi 69′); 7. Kainasi Uhatahi (13. Teu Fakava 55′); 8. Maliele Papani; 9. Maake Uhatahi; 11. Felise Tuhitua (c) (17. Sione Tahitua 64′); 12. Lafaele Moala; 15. Lui Muavesi
Subs not used – 5. Ilaisa Makasini; 10. Semisi Tuifangaloka; 16. Talsi Tukimaka 18. Feao Finau
Cautions – none
Red Card – 3. Inoke Vaihu (56′)
United Eagles – 1. Shamal Kumar; 2. Samuela Vula; 3. Viliame Toma (c); 4. Apisalome Turuva; 7. Marika Namaqa; 9. Valerio Nawatu (18. Ratu Sireli Soqosoqo 85′); 11. Ovini Duguca ; 12. Dharnesh Reddy; 13. Simione Tamanisau (19. Waisake Sabutu 69′); 15. Emosi Baleinuku (8. Usaia Tadau 54′); 16. Josefa Tabausau
Subs not used – 14. Ponipate Naulu; 20. Alifereti Baileloa
Cautions – 13. Simione Tamanisau (60′); 2. Samuela Vula (78′); 19. Waisake Sabutu (86′)