The season kicked off at Auckland’s Kiwitea Street on Saturday with defending champions Auckland City cruising to a 5-0 win over Tahiti’s AS Manu Ura in Group A. Daniel Koprivcic led the way with a second-half hat-trick on debut for the club.
Auckland City coach Paul Posa says he was pleased to pick up maximum points in the season opener and is delighted to be involved in another O-League campaign.
“O-League is great because it raises the standards,” said Posa, who took over from Colin Tuaa midway through last season in a caretaker role and is now leading the club in a British-type manager’s role.
“To play different teams with different styles – we learn from that and they learn from us which I think is a great thing.”
Auckland City started well in the wet conditions going ahead in the 18th minute when All Whites defender Ivan Vicelich climbed high at the near post to head home Ki-Hyung Lee’s corner.
Chad Coombes took Auckland City’s lead out to 2-0 at half-time before Koprivcic stole the show in the second half. The former Waitakere United striker grabbed the first of his three in the 69th minute when he out-muscled his marker on the edge of the area and slotted the ball low past goalkeeper Daniel Tapeta. He scored his second in the 80th minute shortly before AS Manu Ura’s Vetea Tepa was sent off for an off-the-ball incident. Koprivcic then completed his hat-trick with a coolly-taken penalty in injury time.
Kicking off in Port Vila shortly after the Kiwitea clash was the opening Group B match between Tafea FC and Hekari United FC. The 4,000 local faithful at Municipal Stadium were given plenty to cheer in the opening minute of the game when Silas Namatak curled the ball top corner from just outside the area.
Tafea doubled their lead in the 34th minute through Robert Tom before three goals were scored in the space of five minutes just before half-time. Striker Kema Jack grabbed a double in quick succession before Vanuatu international Francois Sakama hit back in the 45th minute to give the home side a 3-2 advantage. Benjamin Mela made it 3-3 five minutes after the break and the score remained unchanged.
On Sunday around 15,000 fans turned out at Honiara’s Lawson Tama Stadium to support Marist FC as they faced a determined Lautoka side in the second Group B match.
Making their O-League debut, Lautoka got off to the perfect start going ahead in the 14th minute when Kamal Hassan headed home after a weak punch out from goalkeeper Fred Hale off a corner. Another strong header, this time from Samuela Kautoga put the visitors two goals clear in the 20th minute, a lead they kept going into the break.
Marist substitute Michael Patiti came on for Joe Luwi midway through the second half and made an immediate impact with a blistering run down the right to set up Abraham Iniga for an easy tap in. The stage was set for a dramatic finish in what was turning out to be a fiercely competitive encounter with no fewer than seven yellow cards issued. But it wasn’t to be for the home side as Lautoka defended well in the dying stages and grabbed a third goal in injury time through Nahuel Arrart.
It was the first home defeat for a Solomon Island club in the O-League since 2007 when ironically it was Marist who again found themselves on the wrong side of a Fijian club going down 0-2 to Ba.
2010 O-League – Match Day 1
Full match reports:
Auckland City FC: 5 (Ivan VICELICH 18, Chad COOMBES 34, Daniel KOPRIVCIC 69, 79, 90+1)
AS Manu Ura: 0
Half-time: 2-0
Saturday 17 October 2009
Kiwitea Street
Auckland, New Zealand
Referee: Gerard PARSONS [AUS]
Assistant Referee 1: Mark RULE [NZL]
Assistant Referee 2: Glen LOCHRIE [NZL]
Fourth Official: Nick WALDRON [NZL]
Crowd: 875

Auckland City FC line-up: 1. Jacob SPOONLEY [GK], 3. Ian HOGG, 5. Matt WILLIAMS, 6. Ki-Hyung LEE (17. Adam McGEORGE 74), 7. James PRITCHETT, 8. Chad COOMBES (22. Adam DICKINSON 72) 11. Daniel KOPRIVCIC, 13. Alex FENERIDIS, 15. Ivan VICELICH, 19. Keryn JORDAN (16. Jason HAYNE 62), 20. Greg UHLMANN
Substitutes not used: 4. Sam CAMPBELL, 9. Paul URLOVIC, 12. Paul GOTHARD [GK], 21. Riki VAN STEEDEN
Coach: Paul POSA [NZL]
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
AS Manu Ura line-up: 16. Daniel TAPETA [GK], 2. Henri TAPEA, 3. Rex FAURA, 5. Philippe MORETA, 7. Tetahio AURAA, 8. Vetea TEPA, 9. Jean-Francois KABEU, 10. Auguste WASHETINE, 12. Hiroana POROIEA, 20. Billy MATAITAI, 22. Fraddy TAUIHARA
Substitutes not used: 1. Jonathan TOROHIA [GK], 14. Stephane TUAIRAU, 15. Henri CHANON, 19. Heitini TUPEA, 22. Fraddy TAUIHARA
Coach: Patrick PITO [TAH]
Yellow cards: Rex FAURA 55, Philippe MORETA 79
Red cards: Vetea TEPA 74
Tafea FC: 3 (Silas NAMATAK 1, Robert TOM 34, Francois SAKAMA 45)
Hekari United FC: 3 (Kema JACK 40, 42, Benjamin MELA 50)
Half-time: 3-2
Saturday 17 October 2009
Municipal Stadium
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Referee: Jamie CROSS [NZL]
Assistant Referee 1: Michael JOSEPH [VAN]
Assistant Referee 2: Alick LUKUI [VAN]
Fourth Official: Robinson BANGA [VAN]
Crowd: 4,000+
Tafea FC line-up: 1. Alfred MALAS [GK], 4. Roger JOE, 5. Silas NAMATAK, 6. Fredy VAVA, 7. Moise POIDE (16. Alphonse QORIG 84), 9. Jean Nako NAPRAPOL, 11. Etienne MERMER (15. Jonah TURU 45), 13. Francois SAKAMA, 17. Geoffrey GETE, 18. Robert TOM, 19. Michell KALTAK (10. Richard IWAI 67)
Substitutes not used: 3. Jacques MAFIL NAWAN, 14. Asi DANIEL, 20. Len MERKA [GK], 21. Francois TAKAU
Coach: Graham DEMAS [VAN]
Yellow cards: Silas NAMATAK 20
Red cards: Nil
Hekari United FC line-up: 20. Gure GABINA [GK], 2. Lorima DAU, 4. Cyril MUTA, 7. Benjamin MELA, 9. Tuimasi MANUCA, 12. David MUTA (10. Abraham ENOCH 63), 15. Charles PARANDA, 16. Pita BALEITOGA, 17. Kema JACK, 18. Eric KOMENG (8. Michael FOSTER 89), 19. Koriak UPAIGA (5. Brian TUHIANA 75)
Substitutes not used: 1. Godfrey BANIAU [GK], 13. Andrew LEPANI, 22. Amuna KAMBA, 24. Kluivert DAGI
Coach: Jerry ALLEN [SOL]
Yellow cards: Lorima DAU 13, Pita BALEITOGA 26, Cyril MUTA 87
Red cards: Nil
Marist FC: 1 (Abraham INIGA 82)
Lautoka: 3 (Kamal HASSAN 14, Samuela KAUTOGA 20, Nahuel ARRART 90+2)
Half-time: 2-0
Sunday 18 October 2009
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Referee: Chris KERR [NZL]
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew TARO [SOL]
Assistant Referee 2: Gerald OIAKA [SOL]
Fourth Official: John SAOHU [SOL]
Crowd: 16,000
Marist FC line-up: 20. Fred HALE [GK] (1. Michael KOUMA [GK] 46), 2. Chrisanto MISIGA, 3. Derol MELO, 5. David HOUPERE, 7. Joseph LANI, 9. Abraham INIGA, 10. Michael MISITANA (14. Tutizama TANITO 87), 11. Commins MENAPI, 12. Clifford HUTA, 15. Joe LUWI (6. Michael PATITI 73), 17. Gibson HOSEA
Substitutes not used: 4. Emmanuel POILA, 8. John WAYNE, 13. Lenson BISILI, 16. Martin RUHASIA
Coach: Patrick MINITI [SOL]
Yellow cards: Abraham INIGA 38, David HOUPERE 46, Joe LUWI 71, Derol MELO 90+1
Red cards: Nil
Lautoka line-up: 1. James CHRONOPOULIS [GK], 2. Samuela KAUTOGA, 3. Keni DOIDOI, 4. Samuela VULA, 6. Malakai WAQA (5. Semesa NAKOSIA 75), 8. Ilatia TUILAU, 9. Nahuel ARRART, 10. Kamal HASSAN, 15. Marika ROBANAKADAVU, 16. Jone VONO (14. Samuela DRUDRU 88), 17. Arvindra NAIDU (11. Sailesh SAMY, 69)
Substitutes not used: 13. Apisal SMITH
Coach: Imdad ALI [FIJ]
Yellow cards: Samuela VULA 47, Marika ROBANAKADAVU 51, Ilatia TUILAU 67
Red cards: Nil