The New Caledonians had fortune on their side when United defender Aaron Scott inadvertently headed the ball into his own goal in the 78th minute to cancel out Brent Fisher’s first-half strike. Moments earlier Fijian speedster Roy Krishna had been shown a red card leaving the visitors with 10 men to defend the slender lead.
United, who won the O-League title in 2007 and 2008, will now have to play catch up after cross-town rivals and defending champions Auckland City beat Tahiti’s AS Manu Ura 5-0 at Kiwitea Street last Saturday.
Coach Neil Emblen says he was disappointed not to get a result but was pleased with how his side played in what was their first competitive match of the season.
“We dominated for three quarters of the match but obviously the sending off and own goal changed things,” said Emblen, who has taken over the coaching role after the departure of Chris Milicich last season.
“They were bigger and more physical than I had expected and fair play to them because they came back into it at the end.”
United dominated the first half playing into a strong breeze and found the breakthrough in the 37th minute when Neil Sykes drove a corner clearance back into the box for Fisher to head over goalkeeper Jean Yan Dounezeck. It was his first goal for the club after playing three seasons for Bodens BK in Sweden.
In a contrasting second half, AS Magenta started to exploit United down the flanks and enjoyed plenty of possession through midfield standouts Noel Kaudre and Pierre Wajoka.
With much at stake for both teams, tempers flared in the 75th minute when Krishna was shown a red card for retaliation. The send off proved costly as AS Magenta went on a fast break minutes later and a deep cross found United defender Aaron Scott whose unchallenged header went into the back of his own net.
United and Magenta now sit second equal in Group A behind Auckland City while Fiji’s Lautoka are top of Group B ahead of Hekari United FC, Tafea FC and Marist FC.
AS Magenta: 1 (own goal 78)
Waitakere United: 1 (Brent FISHER 37)
Half time: 0-1
Saturday 24 October 2009
Stade Numa Daly
Noumea, New Caledonia
Referee: Norbert HAUATA [TAH]
Assistant Referee 1: Didier HMUZO [NCL]
Assistant Referee 2: Mahit CHILIA [VAN]
Fourth Official: Isidore ASSIENE-AMBASSA [NCL]
Crowd: 2,000
AS Magenta line-up: 1. Jean Yan DOUNEZECK [GK], 2. Benjamin LONGUE, 3. Jeremie DOKUNENGO, 7. Noel KAUDRE, 9. Paul POATINDA, 10. Pierre WAJOKA, 14. Jules WEA, 17. Andre SINEDO, 24. Lamo XEWE, 25. Joris GORENDIAWE, 32. Ludovic BOIT
Substitutes: 4. Emmanuel DIANAI, 6. Jedidja SAIKO, 12. Poulidor TOTO, 18. Jean Chrys XENIE, 26. Fabrice WACAPO, 27. Cedrickson CARIOU, 33. Philippe KOKONE
Coach: Alain MOIZAN
Waitakere United line-up: 1. Danny ROBINSON [GK], 2. Jason ROWLEY, 3. Aaron SCOTT, 4. Tim MYERS, 7. Martin BULLOCK, 8. Brent FISHER, 9. Benjamin TOTORI, 11. Neil SYKES, 12. Roy KRISHNA, 14. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 17. Jake BUTLER,
Substitutes: 5. Ash SOLLY, 10. Allan PEARCE, 13. Dimas MORALES DA SILVA, 15. Craig WILIE, 20. Ryan DE VRIES, 22. Liam LITTLE [GK], 27. Dan JONES
Coach: Neil EMBLEN
2010 O-League table & results, click here
2010 O-League leading goal scorerd
3 – Daniel KOPRIVCIC
1 – Nahuel ARRART
1 – Chad COOMBES
1 – Brent FISHER
1 – Kamal HASSAN
1 – Abraham INIGA
1 – Kema JACK
1 – Samuela KAUTOGA
1 – Tuimasi MANUCA
1 – Benjamin MELA
1 – Silas NAMATAK
1 – François SAKAMA
1 – Robert TOM