New Caledonia has won through in the battle for French-supremacy in Oceania thanks to a 9th minute penalty from talismanic midfield man Pierre Wajoka. Wajoka’s cool finish under pressure gave New
Caledonia the upper-hand in a physical encounter with Tahiti unable to breakdown a strong defensive showing led by Marc Ounemoa.
Tahiti’s struggle to overcome some dogged defending by New Caledonia was not helped by a raft of missed chances from the French-Polynesians. On the balance of play it appeared that Tahiti were
worth at least one or possibly two goals but for wayward shooting or a loss of composure in front of goal when it seemed easier to score.
New Caledonia deserve great credit for the manner in which they absorbed pressure but they too caught the habit of missing easy chances right at the death when a raking pass from Pierre Wajoka
found Poulidor Toto in space beyond the Tahitian defence only for the fleet-footed frontman to miss the target from only two yards out.
Tahiti poured forward in search for an equaliser but failed to penetrate the solid New Caledonia rearguard leaving Tahiti susceptible to counter-attacks with Wajoka and Luther Wahnyamalla
overunning the midfield.
Tahiti lacked any sort of leadership in the engine room of their midfield with the absence of a calm and composed figure such as Naea Bennett was made obvious. Raimoana Bennett – cousin of Naea –
was unable to gain a foothold in the match with Auguste Washetine – a player born in Noumea and nabbed from under the noses of New Caledonia – ineffectual in a tense encounter.
TAHITI: 23. Xavier SAMIN (GK), 3. Jean-Yves LI WA UT, 5. Stéphane GELIMA, 7. Billy MATAITAI
(78’, 13. Temarii TINORUA), 9. Raimana LI FUNG KEE, 10. Raimoana BENNETT, 11. Auguste WASHETINE, 14. Taufa NEUFFER, 18. Axel WILLIAMS (67’, 8. Jérome
TETAVAHI), 20. Teva ZAVERONI, 21. Angelo TCHEN
Coach: Gérard KAUTAI
Subs not used (remplaçants n’ayant pas joué): 1. Jonathan TOROHIA, 2. Teraimaru MERVIN, 4. Fraddy TAUIHARA, 6. Samuel GARCIA, 12,
Hiro POROIAE, 19. Axel TEMATAUA, 22. Daniel TAPETA (GK)
Cautions (Cartons jaunes): 5. Stéphane GELIMA, 14. Taufa NEUFFER, 21. Angelo TCHEN
Red Cards (cartons rouges):
NEW CALEDONIA: 1. Marc OUNEMOA, 2. André NAXUE, 4. André SINEDO, 6. Georges WADENGES, 9. Marius MAPOU, 10. Pierre WAJOKA
(cap), 11. Luther WAHNYAMALLA (60’, 14. Patrick DIAKE), 13. José HMAE, 17. Iamel, BABEU (45’, 12. Jean-louis TOTO), 18. Poulidor TOTO
Coach: Didier CHAMBRARON
Subs not used (remplaçants n’ayant pas joué): 3. Wilson FOREST, 5. Obert WAYARIDI, 8. Jean Chris XENIE, 15.
Jean-Patrick WAKANUMUNE, 16. Adolphe BOAOUTHO, 19. Patrick DRAWILO, 20. Jean-Yan DOUNEZEK
Cautions (Cartons jaunes): 11. Luther WAHNYAMALLA, 12. Jean-louis TOTO
Referee: Michael HESTER (NZL)
Assistant Referee: Tevita MAKASINI (TON)
Assistant Referee: Teariki GOODWIN (NZL)