Oceania Football Confederation > News > 2016 OFC Champions League > Red mist mars goal-fest on 4th day

Red mist mars goal-fest on 4th day

Attention returned to Group C on Match Day 4 at Auckland’s QBE Stadium and there was certainly much for those in attendance to mull over with both fixtures providing no shortage of talking points.
The tone of the action-packed day was set within minutes of the opening game, a typically feisty Francophone derby between New Caledonia’s AS Magenta and their Tahitian rivals AS Tefana, who finished the game with just nine players on the park.
Tefana had begun in hugely promising fashion on Match Day 1, dispatching Nadi 6-1 while Magenta started in a more low-key manner with a 2-0 triumph over Kiwi FC.
Any assumptions those results made Tefana favourites going into today were quickly dispelled though when the talismanic Pierre Wajoka set up Jean-Christ Wajoka in the fifth minute, his volley beating goalkeeper Mikael Roche via the inside of the post.
Tefana did manage to respond fairly swiftly through Tunoa Tevaerai’s 18th-minute strike but began to lose control of the game and, more importantly, their discipline from that point on.
Georges Bearune scored the first goal in what would turn out to be a hat-trick, including two penalties, in the 26th minute by taking advantage of a scramble in front of the Tefana goal to poke home.
Falling behind did not have a positive effect on Tefana this time and they found themselves 3-1 down when a handball in the box allowed Bearune to score his second from the spot.
That left the Tahitians with a steep hill to climb and it turned into a mountain of mammoth proportions when the red mist descended on Nicolas Vallar, who has played professionally in France and represented his country at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
All that experience seemed to desert the defender as he picked up a caution for pulling back an opponent in the 41st minute and then received his marching orders just moments later for a challenge from behind on Joel Wakanumune.
To their credit, the ten men of Tefana hit back just after the break when Taumihau Tiatia scored with a tidy tap in to make it 3-2 and the comeback appeared to be on when the numbers were evened up by the dismissal of Magenta captain Loic Wakanumune on 55 minutes.
But Tefana couldn’t find an equaliser and instead it was Magenta who wrapped up the scoring,
Bearune completing his hat-trick with his second successful spot kick in the 86th minute. The losing side’s misery was compounded when skipper Angelo Tchen, who had received a caution in giving away the second penalty, joined his Magenta counterpart in the sheds after committing another bookable offence in stoppage time.
“We lifted our game today but we had to,” Magenta coach Alain Moizan said.
“We always play according to our adversaries and against the Tahitians that was no different. We knew today we needed to play at the highest level, or even more. We scored four goals and I think we could have had even more but we won and that is the main thing.”
Tefana coach Sebastian Labayen did not lay blame for the defeat at his team’s ill-discipline but admitted the mind frame of the players was a factor.
“We lost this match due to a number of things that didn’t fall in our favour but you also need to have a positive mentality for things to go your way,” he said.
“We were too slow in our passing and that allowed our opponents to press and win the ball.”
After such a dramatic beginning to the day’s proceedings, there appeared little chance of the second game being anywhere near as entertaining. But the players of Kiwi FC and Nadi FA somehow managed to serve up an encounter that registered even higher on the excitement scale.
Nadi’s Anish Khem was the hero, scoring four goals to deny Kiwi a historic first ever win in the competition, but not before his side had been given an almighty scare by the plucky Samoans.
A double from Mike Saofaiga – his goals arriving in the second and 21st minutes – and a further effort from Paulo Scanlan in the 10th had given Kiwi a 3-1 lead to put them on track for a memorable victory as the clock ticked towards half-time.
But it was then that a shift in temperament came as one player from each side, Kiwi’s Desmond Fa’aiuaso and Nadi’s Waisake Tabucava, were dismissed for their part in a fracas on 44 minutes. It appeared as if that’s where the drama would end as the final 10 minutes of the match approached without major incident.
But the footballing gods had other ideas, an 81st-minute melee resulting in another double sending off as Nadi goalkeeper Vereti Dickson and Kiwi player Lionel Taylor were both banished from the field.
As if that wasn’t enough, Khem then added to his eighth-minute equaliser with another strike to make it 3-2 on 87 minutes before a further sending off just seconds later as Kiwi substitute Lawrie Letutusa saw red.
Due to all the incidents, a massive nine minutes of additional time were played and there was somehow room in the referee’s notebook for two more Nadi goals and yet another sending off.
Khem completed his hat-trick in the sixth minute of stoppage time to level the scores and made it a four-goal haul with a 98th-minute winner – the first time Nadi had been ahead in the entire match.
In between those strikes, Nadi’s Napolioni Qasevakatini was ordered off to leave both sides down to eight players as the Fijians closed out their last-gasp 4-3 victory.
Kiwi coach Phineas Young was disappointed not to write his side into the history books with a win but felt the performance underlined the fact that Kiwi can compete at this level.
“When we came into the changing room at half-time we talked about how it could be our first win in the OFC Champions League,” he said.
“We weren’t able to do that but we proved that we are here to stay and there is no shame in that.”
Nadi counterpart Kamal Swamy felt his charges made it harder for themselves by losing their cool.
“We lacked discipline today which made the game very difficult for the remaining players on the field,” he said.
“The discipline of some of the players let us down and we will now be lacking in numbers for the next game, which is a tougher one.”
The focus turns to Group B as the OFC Champions League continues at the QBE Stadium Oval tomorrow, Hekari United taking on Suva FA from 1pm before AS Lossi meets Team Wellington at 3.30pm.

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