Last year’s runners up Team Wellington and 2010 title winners Hekari United from Papua New Guinea are set for a blockbuster clash as they battle it out for Group B honours in Saturday’s action at QBE Stadium.
In the day’s other match Fiji’s Suva FA and New Caledonian debutants AS Lössi will play for pride.
Lössi and Suva are still searching for their first points of the campaign and both sides will be eager to finish the tournament on a high. The New Caledonians enter their third group game with increasing confidence.
Following a disappointing 5-1 loss to Hekari United in their opener, the newcomers gave a much better account of themselves against Team Wellington.
Stephen Drahusak’s men pushed last year’s runners up all the way before suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat to their more-fancied opponents. The coach is hoping for an even better performance against the Fijians.
“We will do everything to earn a win in the final match. Suva haven’t won a single match and we haven’t won a single match either. So, if we can wish for anything, it’s to finish with a win,” says Drahusak.
Meanwhile, Suva FA are just as determined. The Fijians are yet to score a goal in this year’s tournament following a 2-0 loss to Team Wellington and 3-0 defeat to Hekari United.
It has been a disappointing tournament so far and coach Gurjit Singh admits his men have performed well below their best. However, the Suva boss is adamant his side is keen to end the campaign on a high note.
“It is important for us to try and win the game. We will have to regroup to go for the win.”
Suva’s encounter with AS Lössi is just an appetizer before serving up the main course with a top-of-the-table clash between Team Wellington and Hekari United.
The Papua New Guineans have emerged as one of the most impressive teams of the tournament after brushing aside AS Lössi and Suva with ease. They sit on top of Group B with a healthy 8-1 goal-difference and a draw against Team Wellington will guarantee them a spot in the semis.
However, coach Jerry Sam says the reigning New Zealand champions will provide a very difficult test.
“We have a big game coming up against Team Wellington, it won’t be easy. Team Wellington is a very good team and we won’t take them lightly.”
A draw, or even a loss could also be enough for Wellington to progress as the best-placed runner-up. But the men from the New Zealand capital will be looking for a win and automatic qualification and to keep their destiny in their own hands.
Matt Calcott’s charges looked well below par in their last group match against Suva FA, but the coach insists his side will be up for the challenge on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s an important match obviously, it’s just kind of winner takes all, finals football from now on in. I watched AS Lössi the other day against Hekari and thought they did ok but just conceded a few too many goals.”
The OFC would like to acknowledge its sponsors iRENA, Telikom PNG, Konika Minolta, Tranzit Coachlines, Frucor and UNICEF.
Suva FA vs. AS Lössi
QBE Stadium Oval
Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday 16 April, 2016
Referee: Nelson SOGO (SOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Mahit CHILIA (VAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Lemusa ALATASI (ASA)
Fourth Official: George TIME (SOL)
The players:Suva’s frontline has been lacklustre in their opening two matches. Mainly reduced to long balls and counter-attacks, the Fijian strikers have failed to make a real impact. Midfielder Setareki Hughes looked the most likely to cause trouble going forward but he will need support if Gurjit Singh’s men want to sign off with a win. Despite conceding five goals in two matches, Suva goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara has been one the team’s outstanding players. With his defence under constant pressure Mateinaqara produced a string of quality saves to keep the score line respectable.
The vital statistics:Suva are yet to score a goal in this year’s tournament and with a combined six shots on target against Team Wellington and Hekari United, the Fijians will need far more enterprising play in the final third. They also need to tighten up at the back after conceding 52 shots on goal and 27 on target in their opening two group matches.
Coach Quote: “It is important for us to try and win the game. We will have to regroup to go for the win.”
Squad list:1. Tevita KOROI (GK), 2. Epeli LEIROTI, 3. Tomasi TUICAKAU, 4. Jale DRELOA, 5. Poasa BAINIVALU, 6. Nickel CHAND, 7. Kaliova TIVULU, 9. Sakaraia NAISUA, 10. Rusiate MATAREREGA, 11. Madhwan GOUNDER, 12. Tomasi UCULOA, 13. Don RAJ, 14. Samuela DRUDRU, 15. Waisake NAVUNIGASAU, 16. Shahil DAVE, 17. Filipe BARAVILALA, 19. Pita RABO, 20. Setareki HUGHES, 22. Emori RAGATA, (GK), 23. Beniamino MATEINAQARA (GK
Coach:Gurjit SINGH (FIJ)
The players:Following a tough start against Hekari United, AS Lössi bounced back in impressive fashion against Team Wellington. 19-year old forward Jim Ouka was lively throughout the opening two matches and his clinical finish against Team Wellington showed plenty of promise.
The vital statistics: The Champions League newcomers from New Caledonia had an almost even share of possession in both of their opening matches. However, they were far more adventurous in the final third in their second match against Team Wellington. While Stephane Drahusak’s men only managed three shots on target against Hekari United, they made 14 attempts on goal against the New Zealand champions, seven of which hit the target.
Coach Quote: “If we play like we did on Monday, with the same spirit it should be good. Team Wellington had a lot of big players, internationals, we are from a small country and play with our pride. I’m proud of the spirit our players displayed.”
Squad list: 1. Emmanuel WEJIEME (GK), 2. Kevin MAITRAN, 3. Jean Marie HMALOKO, 4. Dick KAUMA, 5. Pierre KAUMA, 6. Leon TAIN, 7. Leon WAHNAWE, 8. Wilson FOREST, 9. Jim OUKA, 10. Joerisse CEXOME, 11. Nathanael HMAEN, 12. Robert WAOUKA, 13. Romain PAINBENI, 14. Yorick HNAUTRA, 15. Fabian FOREST, 16. Paul OZIKA, 17. Jean Jacques WAHNYAMALLA, 18. Fonzy RANCHAIN, 19. Shafy MANDAOUE, 20. Mone WAMOW, 21. Marvin DRAWILO, 29. Thomas SCHMIDT (GK), 30. Michel HNE (GK)
Coach:Stephane DRAHUSAK (NCL)
Team Wellington vs Hekari United
QBE Stadium Oval
Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday 16 April, 2016
Referee: Salesh CHAND (FIJ)
Assistant Referee 1: Tevita MAKASINI (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard MUTUKERA (SOL)
Fourth Official: Robinson BANGA (VAN)
The players:Despite being unable to add to his two goals from the opening match against Suva, striker Ben Harris looked threatening against AS Lössi. The lively Englishman is a real nuisance to defenders especially with his aerial presence inside the penalty box. At the back, Bill Robertson leads his troops with a cool head. The Team Wellington skipper will need be at his best to keep Hekari’s impressive forward line in check.
The vital statistics: Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott will be still concerned about his side’s wastefulness in the final third. The New Zealand champions have only managed four goals in their opening two games despite producing 24 shots on target.
Coach Quote: “They looked good and we tried to impress that on the players. We’re really looking forward to Saturday now, it’s all or nothing.”
Squad list: 1. Scott BASALAJ (GK), 2. Taylor HOUGH, 3. Steven GULLEY, 4. Anthony HOBBS, 5. Bill ROBERTSON, 7. Leo VILLA, 8. Cole PEVERLEY, 9. Tom JACKSON, 10. Luis CORRALES, 11. Mario BARCIA, 12. Andy BEVIN, 13. Alex FENERIDIS, 14. William SCOTT, 15. Mark JONES, 16. Ben HARRIS, 17. Fergus NEIL, 18. Saul HALPIN, 19. Conor McGLINCHEY,
20. Michael GWYTHER, 21. Taylor SCHRIJVERS, 22. Alex CARR, 23. Michael O’KEEFFE (GK)
Suspended: 6. Chris BALE
Coach:Matt CALCOTT (NZL)
The players:Papua New Guinea international Tommy Semmy has been one the outstanding players in this year’s tournament. The 21-year-old has speed, physical presence and a keen eye for goal. Joses Nawo and Solomon Islander Gagame Feni are the two others to watch in Hekari’s impressive frontline.
The vital statistics: The 2010 Champions from PNG are potent going forward and tight at the back. They scored an impressive eight goals in two matches while conceding only once. However, Jerry Allen’s men are guilty of giving away possession far too easy. Hekari turned the ball over 187-times against AS Lössi and a whopping 208-times against Suva FA. That is well above the other team’s average.
Coach Quote: “We will give them the very best that we can. They are very good with long balls so we will try and keep things on the ground. We must focus until the final whistle.”
Squad list: 1. Leslie KALAI (GK), 2. Daniel JOE, 3. Otto KUSUNAN, 5. Remueru TEKIATE, 6. Pita BOLATOGA, 7. John ALICK, 8. Papalau AWELE, 9. Karo ILA, 10. Tutizama TANITO, 11. Elkington MOLIVAKARUA, 12. David MUTA, 13. Tommy SEMMY, 14. Emmanuel SIMON, 16. Jeremy YASASA, 17. Wira WAMA, 19. Koriak UPAIGA, 20. Ismael POLE (GK), 21. Barry MANSALE, 23. Joses NAWO, 24. Mathias IANI, 25. Felix KOMOLONG, 27. Gagame FENI
Coach: Jerry ALLEN (SOL)