SAMOA 2 (Faaiuaso 45’+1, Taylor 83′) TONGA 1 (Feao 53′)
Polynesian cousins Samoa and Tonga put on a show for the bumper crowd estimated at 2,500 at Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Playing Fields in Apia, Samoa in
what has been widely described as the match of the tournament so far.
Such was the intensity from the kick-off that in the first minute of play Sione Ongoi Tuatahi collided with a team mate, and was hospitalised with a head injury.
To their credit, Tonga did not allow the unfortunate incident to faze them – and set out to take the game to their higher-rated neighbours.
An epic midfield battle driven by the exploits of respective captains Chris Cahill and Tonga’s inspiration Unaloto Feao ensued, with heavy collisions and quick passing the order
of the night.
Junior Michael was the preeminent figure of the first half, on several occasions displaying expert control of the thumping clearances provided by the colossal Pasi Schwalger in the
Samoan goal – but unfortunately each time coming within a whisker of hitting the back of the net.
Led by some whole-hearted interventions from left back Kava Huihahau (pictured below in action against Desmond Faaiuaso), the Tongan defence scrambled well in numbers time and time
again to clear the decks of the dangerous Michael and impressive Desmond Faaiuaso.
It was in first-half stoppage time however that the pulsating stalemate was dispelled, when Faaiuaso was first to pounce on a loose ball – the product of a series of nigh-on comical
deflections following one of the night’s many Chris Cahill free kicks.
Again, refusing to be discouraged Tonga came back for the second half prepared to give as good as they got against the host nation, and were rewarded with an equaliser eight minutes
into the second half.
A clever, yet seemingly innocuous Malakai Savieti flick was allowed to trial into the penalty box by the Samoan defense, catching the traditionally outbound Schwalger flat-footed on
his line. Unaloto Feao quickly spotted the opportunity, and slotted past Schwalger into the net.
This cued a surreal, almost disbelieving silence from the expectant crowd gathered on the grassy banks of the Faleata Sports Complex – but only served to inspire Samoa to push
forward in search of the winner.
As the pace of the game spiralled into its own compelling end to end tailspin, Chris Cahill – who forced himself to continue after aggravating a heel injury late in the first half –
and Kamaliele Papani both picked up their second yellow cards of the tournament to date, meaning both will miss their team’s next fixture.
Several key interventions from fraught Tongan goalkeeper Kavakava Manumua seemed to have served in facilitating a memorable draw between the two island nations, until an inspired and
audacious Lionel Taylor turn and shot in the 83rd minute sent the crowd and his team mates alike into raptures.
Tonga had one final chance from a well-placed free kick, but could not manage to find the target through Sione Tovo. Cautious of not allowing another opportunity to the obviously
deflated Tongans, Samoa managed to secure possession for extended periods in the final minutes of the game and hang on to the precious victory.
The Cahill suspension now poses a situation for Samoa, who will have to take on the mighty Solomon Islands minus their talismanic captain. They will enter the clash in the knowledge
that a victory should see them qualify for a semi-final date with perhaps New Caledonia, but more likely Fiji.
Samoa have a few days of valuable rest and preparation to look forward to before taking on the Solomon Islands at 1230hrs (GMT-13) on Monday 3 September, while Tonga play their
3rd match of the tournament on Saturday September 1st at 1230 (GMT-13) against American Samoa with mathematical hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals still alive.
0′ – both teams enter the field to the FIFA Anthem, with a steady and colourful crowd building on a warm, and
0′ – Tonga performs a rousing haka towards their bench, and those watching from the grandstand
1′ – a collision on the edge of the Tongan area causes an injury to Sione Ongoi UHATAHI
6′ – UHATAHI is taken to hospital as a precautionary measure to receive treatment for a head injury
7′ – Pasi SCHWALGER releases a towering punt downfield, which causes havoc in the Tongan defense and results in a narrowly missed attempt at goal by Junior MICHAEL
10′ – Tonga 2. Sione Ongoi UHATAHI is replaced by 14. Kaisani UHATAHI
11′ – CAHILL releases a curling volley at goal, clearing the crossbar by a matter of inches
14′ – a spell of concerted pressure from Samoa is broken by a Tongan counter-attack, lacking execution on goal
15′ – Kava HUIHAHAU fails to find the target for Tonga from consecutive free kicks 35 yards out
16′ – Desmond FAAIUASO drives a low shot into the arms of Tongan ‘keeper Kavakava MANUMUA
17′ – Tonga level possesion, with play running to both ends of the field
18′ – Junior MICHAEL releases a menacing cross-shot from the left side of the Tongan penalty area, which MANUMUA holds well at full stretch to his left
20′ – Samoan goalkeeper Pasi SCHWALGER negotiates traffic to save well at the feet of Tongan attackers
21′ – Tonga defend well to clear the latest Samoan attack
23′ – Chris CAHILL releases a deep cross for FAAIUASO to volley from an angle, narrowly missing the top corner from the 18 yards
25′ – Fau
ivi UGAPO puts in a strong challenge on Tonga’s Pio PALU
26′ – a Chris CAHILL free kick produces a low save from MANUMUA
27′ – Malakai SAVIETI and captain Unaloto FEAO combine well for Tonga to call SCHWALGER into action
29′ – FEAO drives a free kick from 35 yards straight into the Samoan wall, which holds firm
30′ – CAHILL replicates this action from a wider angle for Samoa
30′ – FEAO has a strike on the Samoan goal, but the ball trials wide left
32′ – SCHWALGER leaves his line to claim a high cross from deep over the Tongan attackers
34′ – an intense battle is developing across the midfield, with Tonga very aware of the threat CAHILL poses
36′ – the Tongan defence clears well on consecutive attacks, to find FEAO who travels on a mazy dribble to be caught out on a loose touch
37′ – Folio MOEAKI blasts a long-range shot over the Samoan goal
38′ – a CAHILL free kick finds Damien FONOTI at the far post, who heads across goal but narrowly clears the crossbar
40′ – Pio PALU volleys from the edge of the box to produce a theatrical save from SCHWALGER
42′ – Tonga 7. Sione Vea TAHITUA brings down CAHILL near the halfway line, and receives a yellow card.
44′ – Kamaliele PAPANI clears well for Tonga from a dangerous CAHILL free kick across the face of goal
— 5 minutes added time —
45’+1 – GOAL!
a goalmouth scramble results in 10. Desmond FAAIUASO pouncing to break the deadlock for Samoa
45’+3 – MANUMUA is fouled by Samoan attackers, resulting in a goal to MICHAEL being disallowed
45’+4 – MICHAEL shoots across the face of goal from wide on the left
45’+5 – Chris CAHILL leaves the field early with an injury to his right heel
HALF-TIME: SAM 1 TON 0
46′ – Chris CAHILL returns from half-time, ready to play
49′ – FAAIUASO cannons a shot at goal, which MANUMUA saves well diving to his left in mid-air
50′ – the fixture is proving to be one of the tightest and most physical at the tournament so far
50′ – the Samoan defense combines to clear a potentially dangerous cross from deep
51′ – Fauivi UGAPO takes a knock and requires treatment in the Samoan penalty box
53′ – GOAL!
10. Unaloto FEAO capitalises on a SAVIETI flick not being cleared by the Samoan defense to draw Tonga level
56′ – Kamaliele PAPANI releases SAVIETI down the right flank, only for play to break down in the frenetic conditions
57′ – yellow card for Junior MICHAEL of Samoa
58′ – FAAIUASO corner is well held by MANUMUA under intense pressure from the Samoan runners
58′ – MANUMUA is alert to defuse a dangerous loose ball at the top of his area
60′ – Tonga scramble the ball clear for a corner, which causes pressure well managed by MANUMUA
63′ – 4. Chris CAHILL recieves a yellow card, ruling him out of Samoa’s clash with the Solomon Islands
66′ – Tonga 8. Kamaliele PAPANI receives a yellow card, and will also miss Tonga’s next match versus American Samoa
70′ – Kava HUIHAHAU slides in well to concede a corner kick, from which a CAHILL near-post header produces an outstanding collapsing save from MANUMUA
72′ – Samoa 13. Lionel TAYLOR and Tonga 14. Kaisani UHATAHI receive yellow cards for a skirmish in the penalty box following the corner
73′ – the intensity of the match has increased another level, with tough challenges coming in from both sides
74′ – Tonga defend well in numbers to extinguish several consecutive Samoan raids
75′ – SCHWALGER punches well with a fist from a deep Tongan free kick
76′ – FAAIUASO shows nice skill down the right flank, but fails to produce a cross
78′ – SCHWALGER intervenes well after good interplay between PAPANI, HUIHAHAU and PALU for Tonga
82′ – Sakaria FUIMAONO rises above the Tongan defence to meet a pinpoint CAHILL free kick, grazing the right-hand upright of the Tongan goal
83′ – GOAL!
outstanding pivot and strike from 13. Lionel TAYLOR sends the crowd of thousands into raptures
84′ – Tonga come straight back at Samoa, with inspirational captain Unaloto FEAO narrowly missing a far-post header
85′ – 4. Chris CAHILL heads for the bench to be replaced by 2. Voa SAUAGA
86′ – Tongan 11. Malakai SAVETI is replaced by 12. Lafaele MOALA
88′ – Sione TOVO blazes an indirect free kick high over the Samoan goal
— 2 minutes added time —
90’+2 – the referee’s final whistle brings a roar of appreciation, tinged with relief from the predominantly local crowd
FULL-TIME: SAM 2 TON 1
MATCH PHOTOS (courtesy of Geoff Dickinson Photography)
XIII SOUTH PACIFIC GAMES – SAMOA 2007
Men’s Group B
Match Day 3 – 2030 – 29 August 2007
Toleafoa J.S. Blatter Football Fields – Apia – Samoa
SAMOA: 1. Pasi SCHWALGER [gk]; 3. Damien FONOTI; 4. Chris CAHILL [c] (Voa SAUAGA 85′); 6. Fauivi UGAPO; 10. Desmond FAAIUASO;
11. Junior MICHAEL; 12. Filipo BURETA; 13. Lionel TAYLOR; 14. Bevan KAPISI; 16. Penitito TUMUA; 18. Sakaria FUIMAONO.
Coach: Falevi UMUTAUA
Substitutes not used: 5. Jerrell SALE; 7. Fereti GOSCHE; 8. Joseph HOEFLICH; 9. Max Tom HEIFLICH; 15. Edwin TYRELL; 17. Horst
PETANA; 19. Sapati UMUTAUA; 20. Filipo ULI [gk]; 21. Keith Tasi STANFIELD.
Cautions: 11. Junior MICHAEL (57′); 4. Chris CAHILL (63′); 13. Lionel TAYLOR (72′).
Goal scorers: 10. Desmond FAAIUASO (45’+1); 13. Lionel TAYLOR (83′).
TONGA: 1. Kavakava MANUMUA [gk]; 2. Sione Ongoi UHATAHI (14. Kaisani UHATAHI 10′); 3. Kava HUIHAHAU; 4. Folio MOEAKI; 6. Pio
PALU; 7. Sione Vea TAHITUA; 8. Kamaliele PAPANI; 10. Unaloto FEAO [c]; 11. Malakai SAVIETI (12. Lafaele MOALA 86′); 16. Sione TOVO; 17. Semisi TUIFANGALOKA.
Coach: Kilife UELE
Substitutes not used: 5. Matana PAONGO; 15. Tevita TAKAI; 18. Kaliopasi UELE; 19. Lisaniasi KAINGA; Kaneti FELELA
Injured: 9. Ilalio LEAKONA; 13. Mark UHATAHI; 21. Kinikini KAU [gk].
Cautions: 7. Sione Vea TAHITUA (42′); 8. Kamaliele PAPANI (66′); 14. Kaisane UHATAHI (72′).
Goal scorers: 10. Unaloto FEAO (53′).
Referee: Salaiau SOSONGAN (PNG)
Assistant Referee: Rohitesh DAYAL (FIJ)
Assistant Referee: Hilary ANI (PNG)
Fourth Official: Job Ponis MINAN (PNG)
Fifth Official: Nick WALDRON (NZL)