Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Champions League 2014 > Amicale, Auckland produce thrilling draw

Amicale, Auckland produce thrilling draw

The chase for Oceania’s lone berth at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco remains intense after Amicale and Auckland City FC produced a thrilling OFC Champions League Final, 1st Leg, in front of a sell-out 10,000 crowd in Port Vila, Vanuatu, today.
Amicale were subdued in a cautious first half as Auckland City FC dictated the pace of the game but that all changed when Emiliano Tade slipped a finish past Chikau Mansale on 29 minutes.
But that advantage changed in an explosive second half as Amicale threw players forward in search of a much needed goal that eventually came courtesy of a superb Dominique Fred goal with 11 minutes left on the clock.
Amicale coach Nathan Hall believes his team showed the defending champions far too much respect in the first half.
“We had to push up field much higher in the second half by another five yards or more which we did and I thought we could’ve got ourselves two goals.
“We were the better team in the second half by far, but in the first half we came out of the blocks quite well then just dropped off a little bit. It was disappointing to concede so early but the boys came back gallantly and never gave up.
“They have energy and determination and they’re strong minded. Auckland City FC have more of a method with how they play and it takes time for a team to achieve that.
“Things got scrappy when we brought on Sanni Issa and Kensi Tangis but they were effective and put pressure on the likes of Ivan Vicelich – we defended a lot better from the front,” he says.
Hall’s opposite number Ramon Tribulietx viewed the match from a similar perspective.
“I felt we dominated in the first half we knew we had applied pressure but in the second half Amicale had to make a couple of changes to get something from the game.
“They played more longer balls and picked up the second phase possession and that’s how we conceded a goal. But a 1-1 result with an away goal is very important. We need to rest and recover now because the second game is going to be very tight.”
In what was a tense affair played on a bumpy Port Vila pitch both goals came from individual errors, the first when Esava Naqaleca gave away possession to allow Tade to net his fifth goal of the competition on 29 minutes.
The second arrived after a David Talone cross wriggled under the foot of Takuya Iwata for Fred to score the equalizer with a sizzling long range shot 50 minutes later.
While the pressure was intense, Auckland City FC coach Ramon Tribulietx believes the errors came down to pitch conditions not being up to the best.
“Unfortunately, the playing surface wasn’t the greatest, it was an uneven surface, not only for us but for Amicale as well. The goal we conceded came from a bobble and that was the story for us,” he says, “but the game was fantastic, it was great to have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing atmosphere and the Port Vila crowd were unbelievable.”
With the match balanced delicately heading into the second leg at Kiwitea Street next Sunday, one player missing will be Amicale defender and skipper Nelson Sale who was booked in the second half for a foul on substitute Sean Lovemore, a caution that means a one match suspension.
“We’ve lost Sale which is disappointing because he’s an influential player and has the respect of everybody at this football club. But there is a chance now for another player to come in and make a mark and last week Laitia Tuilau came in and had a great 75 minutes for us in the semi-final with Ba here,” Hall says ”We trust in our other players and we’ll fill that gap left by Nelson.”
Looking ahead to next week’s winner-takes-all clash in Auckland, Hall says the key to success is a simple one for Amicale.
“If we play for 90 minutes like we played for half an hour in the second half today, then next week is going to be a very even second leg. We’ve played better away from home than anywhere else this season, so we can look forward to the next match with some optimism,” he says.
Tribulietx is cautious about talking up any advantage Auckland City FC may carry into the second match.
“It’s going to be very, very, tight. Amicale have got everything – they have good strikers, good experience, players who have played in Europe who are used to playing on surfaces like Kiwitea Street that allows teams to play a particular style of football.
“We’ve got a slight advantage but if we think that will be enough next week to win the OFC Champions League then we have a problem. We have to prepare properly and make sure we compete well in what now shapes up as a one off game,” he says.
The OFC Champions League 2nd Leg takes place at Kiwitea Street on Sunday 18 May with a 2pm NZST kick-off scheduled.
Coverage of the match via live streaming will be available at the official OFC YouTube channel.
Live updates and social media comment are available on Twitter @OFCFootball, the official OFC Champions League Facebook page and www.oceaniafootball.com

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