2006 OFC Club Championships – Preliminary
Govind Park, Ba, Fiji
6 – 10 February 2006
Match Day 3 – Match 5
HONOURS EVEN IN SAMOAN TONGAN DUEL
Teams end tournament with draw
Lotoha’apai FC and Tuanaimato Breeze ended their 2006 OFC Club Championships – Preliminary campaigns with an entertaining 1-1 draw in Ba, Fiji.
Tuanaimato defender Titi Esau opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a 40-yard free-kick which replacement `keeper Taisi Tukimaka – in for the influential Kavakava Manumua – spilled into his net, which spoiled an otherwise spectacular display by the custodian. But, Maake Uhatahi, a constant threat throughout the match equalized five minutes from time to ensure parity at Govind Park.
With both teams having a mathematical chance at stealing top spot in the tournament it was Samoa’s Tunaimato who started the better of the two sides and nearly opened the scoring in the first minute of play.
Andrew Setefano played Dennis Bryce in, but his tame shot was easily held by Tukimaka, and despite warming his hands early the `keeper, deputizing for the injured Manumua, seemed edgy and flapped at a corner minutes later.
His opposite number Joe Ugapo was forced into a smart save from Lotoha’api’s Uhatahi flinging himself to his right in the 17th minute, the awkward impact left him in some distress, and for a while it looked as though he would not see the match out. Ugapo stayed on the field and was called into action again in similar fashion, this time saving from Lafaele Moala.
Lotoha’apai continued to mount pressure on Ugapo’s goal and the Tongan’s were nearly rewarded in the 27th minute through skipper Stanlessly Mafi, but the defender’s header was misplaced and sailed wide. Minutes later Esau’s lofted free-kick ended in the back of the net, 1-0 against the run of play. Tuanaimato should have scored again moments later but for Mafi’s well-timed challenge on Setefano.
Setefano was denied twice after half-time by Tukimaka, first the `keeper palmed a point-blank drive onto the crossbar, before saving with his feet in a one-on-one situation.
With the match looking as though the points would go to Tuanaimato, Uhatahi popped up to score his second goal in as many matches ensuring honours were even at fulltime. The draw meant that regardless of the second match of the day, United Eagles would travel to New Zealand for the 2006 OFC Club Championships.
Tuanaimato Breeze 1 (Titi Esau 32′)
Lotoha’apai FC 1 (Maake Uhatahi 85′)
Tuanaimato Breeze – 1. Joe Ugapo; 2. Kiwi Timo; 3. Kennedy Faalavaau; 4. Sapati Umutaua; 5. Fauivi Ugapo; 6. Victor Lui; 8. Lionel Taylor; 10. Desmond Faaiuaso; 11. Andrew Setefano; 13. Dennis Bryce (Iosefa Ioane 77′); 14. Titi Esau
Subs not used – 15. Danny Punimata; 16. Michael Poutasi; 17. Martin Tamasese; 20. Romeo Sa
Cautions – 4. Sapati Umutaua (26′)
Lotoha’apai FC – 20. Taisi Tukimaka ; 2. Kava Huihahau; 4. Stanlessly Mafi (c) (7. Kainasi Uhatahi 65′); 6. Heimula Leakona (18. Feao Finau 62′); 8. Mailele Papani; 9. Maake Uhatahi; 12. Lafaele Moala; 13. Teu Fakava; 14. Halapua Falepapalangi (17. Sione Tuhitahi 40′); 15. Lui Muavesi; 16. Taisi Tukimaka
Subs not used – 1. Kavakava Manumua; 10. Semisi Tufiangaloka
Cautions – 16. Taisi Tukimaka (42′); 15 Lui Muavesi (45′)