Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC Champions League > French connection claim opening honours

French connection claim opening honours

In Group C action, Tahiti’s Tefana became the first team to make a statement with a 6-1 disposal of Nadi FA while New Caledonia’s Magenta were less emphatic but claimed the points nonetheless with a 2-0 triumph over Kiwi FC.
Tefana quickly adapted to the wet conditions and took a well-deserved lead mid-way through the first half, Temarii Tinorua latching onto a cross and smashing home past Vereti Dickson on 21 minutes.
The Nadi goalkeeper was set to be in for a busy afternoon but was beaten just once more before the break as Stanley Atani weaved his way through the box before slotting in between Dickson and the near post on the half hour.
Nadi coach Kamal Swamy would have spent the interval plotting a second-half comeback but that appeared to be off the cards as early as three minutes within the restart.
Tauhiti Keck had found the net just moments earlier but been called back for offside and wasn’t about to be denied this time, becoming the third Tefana player to get the better of an exposed Dickson.
Keck repeated the trick in the 57th minute with a half volley for his brace before Nadi finally replied six minutes later, the ball finding its way over the line for an own goal by Tefana custodian and Tahiti international Mickaël Roche.
It was turning into a bad day for goalkeepers as Dickson was to pick the ball out of his net on a further two occasions, first after a Tunoa Tevaerai effort on 66 minutes and again from substitute Tauatua Lucas in the 78th.
The Nadi cause wasn’t helped in between those strikes as Ilimotama Jese received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, a crude challenge on goalscorer Atani in the 73rd minute.
Victorious coach Sebastian Labayen was delighted with his side’s bright start to the campaign and felt the soggy conditions actually played into Tefana’s hands.
“I was pleased with the way the team played today,” he said.
“I don’t think we were too affected by the weather or surface, in fact I think it actually worked well for our style of game. It’s good to start strongly and get some goals in our first match.”
Counterpart Swamy admitted Nadi were not at their best but cited the disruption to his charges’ preparations – caused by the large-scale flooding in their homeland – as a contributing factor.
“It has been tough for our side in the lead up to this competition of course, we haven’t been able to train for 10 days and I think that was clear in the fitness level of the squad,” he said.
“However, we saw at times what we wanted the players to do and it will just be a matter of working hard to carry out our game plan for the full match as best we can.”
Nadi will certainly be targeting an improved showing in their next outing after claiming just 32 per cent of the possession and getting one shot on target against the rampant Tahitians.
The scorers were kept nowhere near as busy in the second clash of the afternoon, called into action just twice as Magenta edged out Kiwi 2-0.
Underdogs Kiwi put on a determined showing against their more-fancied opponents but ultimately could not quite bridge the gulf in class as goals from Marek Aucher and Bill Nicholls proved enough to undo the Samoans.
Magenta found it difficult to find a way through the resolute Kiwi defence but very nearly did so on 20 minutes as Aucher showed sublime skill to back heel an effort against the post, the ball eventually breaking into the arms of grateful goalkeeper Faalavelave Matagi.
Aucher had more luck just five minutes later though, again displaying his class to successfully convert a free kick and set Magenta on course for the win.
Kiwi managed to make it into the second spell with no further damage to the score board and continued to frustrate Magenta until the 70th minute when Vanuatu international Nicholls finished off a sharp attacking move.
Kiwi found clear-cut chances hard to come by but coach Phineas Young was pleased to have shared such even possession with a side of Magenta’s standing.
“I am happy, we’ve been training hard and looking forward to this tournament,” he said.
“I take my hat off to the opposition, they played well.”
Magenta coach Alain Moizan felt his side could added more to their goal tally but was impressed with Kiwi’s efforts.
“There are always a lot of things to work on and, in particular, we’ve got to be more effective in front of goal,” he said.
“In the first half, we could have scored more and I suppose part of football is being effective. But Kiwi were very good so we’re happy with the win.”
Attention turns to Group B in the 2016 OFC Champions League tomorrow at QBE Stadium as Team Wellington take on Suva FA from 1pm before AS Lossi meet Hekari United at 3.30pm.

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