Vanuatu overwhelmed American Samoa with speed and quickness and deft passing in a match that saw the territory’s coach Rupeni Luvu sent off during the 76th minute of the match.
American Samoa has two games remaining, against Solomon Islands (May 29) and New Caledonia (May 31).
“They were solid all around with very athletic players who played very well as a team,” Luvu said.
American Samoa had one good opportunity in the first half when Ryan Paaga had a breakaway run to beat the defenders but his shot at goal did not threaten the goalie.
The players could not string together consecutive passes and time of possession was limited by Vanuatu’s quickness and speed.
Rueben Luvu, one of the team’s best defenders, received his second yellow card in as many games, forcing the management’s hand of seeing him depart for American Samoa earlier than anticipated.
It was hoped that he could be available for the Solomon Islands match before heading early to American Samoa to catch his Kanana Fou High School graduation scheduled for Friday, May 30, local time.
Luvu, the coach’s son, will depart Nadi International Airport for Samoa on May 28 in order to arrive in time for his commencement ceremony that starts at 9 a.m.
“I am sad to be leaving the team while the tournament is still going on and I wish them the best of luck in their remaining games,” he said.
The team will have a one-day rest before taking to the field against the Solomon Islands at 2:30 on May 29 (3:30 p.m., May 28, American Samoa time).