Vanuatu outdoes Les Cagous

Scoreless going into the second half, slippery conditions on the ground in Port Vila made things difficult for both sides.
However to the dismay of the home crowd it was the visitors whose consistent high pressure saw them take the lead when former OFC Player of the Year Bertrand Kai slotted past Vanuatu goalkeeper Seloni Iaruel.
With 30 minutes remaining on the clock, there remained a lot of work for both sides to do, and in the end it was the hosts who proved they had the staying power.
Vanuatu captain Fenedy Masauvakalo made a perfect impression on the match with a well struck effort in the 83rd minute bringing his side in line with New Caledonia.
A few minutes later Vanuatu had a chance to take the lead after Meani Rogara was fouled in the penalty area.
Solomon Warriors defender Brian Kaltack stepped up to the mark and smashed his shot past Thomas Schmidt to give Vanuatu the lead for the first time in the match.
It was an advantage the hosts held onto to claim the victory and much needed bragging rights ahead of the OFC Nations Cup.
“I am very happy that my players can play as a team and win this important friendly against one of the best teams in Oceania,” Vanuatu coach Moise Poida says.
“We respect New Caledonia a lot and the win today is good news for the Vanuatu Football Federation.”
For his counter part Thierry Sardo it was a much more sobering result as he looks to get his house in order ahead of the next stage in Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying.
“What we saw on Saturday was positive overall, except for the last ten minutes which were more difficult as we sensed the fatigue in the players,” Sardo says.
“We changed a few things for the second half because after a good start we had a tendency to stay too deep in the middle. The players knew how to listen and rectify that.
“That’s what we were looking for, knowing how to adapt and understand. Of course we would have preferred to win but the more important test is still to come.”


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