Home side AS PTT has made a stunning start to the OFC Futsal Men’s Champions League in New Caledonia with an emphatic 11-2 win over Tonga’s Veitongo FC.

The match marked a historic moment with Maria Estefania Pinto, hailing from Argentina, being the first female match official in an OFC Futsal competition.

(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek Referee Maria Estefania. OFC Futsal Men’s Champions League 2024, )

After a moment’s silence was observed in honour of former AS PTT captain Marcel Hnepeune who tragically passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest during a local club match a year ago, AS PTT were immediately in their stride.

Barely had the silence ended when AS PTT had the vocal home crowd in raptures when Emmanuel Hmaen fired them in front in the opening minute. Christopher Kefu should have equalised for Veitongo a minute later when put through on goal, but he fired wide.

AS PTT soon doubled their lead through Christ Pei and Jymaél Upa made it three in the 6th minute.

Veitongo held out until the 15th minute when Robert Forrest fired home AS PTT’s fourth goal of the half.

It would have been more but for some brilliant shot stopping from Tongan keeper Semisi Otukolo who was kept constantly busy but made some quite brilliant saves.

Utuonje Lea’aetoa almost pulled one back for Veitongo on the stroke of half-time, but his effort was saved by Matthieu Wassin in the AS PTT goal.

AS PTT’s James Namuli. OFC Futsal Men’s Champions League 2024, Veitongo FC v AS PTT, L’Arène du Sud, Noumea, New Caledonia, Tuesday 23 April 2024. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

The home started the second half as they did the first with Jean-Emmanuel Wassin scoring immediately after the restart, before Veitongo got on the scoresheet with a crisp shot from an angle by Christopher Kefu. Hemaloto Polovili added a second for the Tongan side, but they were unable to stop the flow of goals at the other end with Richard Wainebengo netting a brace as AS PTT ran rampant on attack. In all there were nine different scorers for AS PTT.

VEITONGO FC         2 (Christopher KEFU 22’, Hemaloto POLOVILI 26’)

AS PTT                       11 (Emmanuel HMAEN 1’, Christ PEI 3’ 31’, Jymaél UPA 6’, Robert FORREST 15’, Jean-Emmanuel Wassin 21’, Richard WAINEBENGO 24’ 26’, James NAMULI 30’, Michael PIMBE 31’ Frederic SCHWARTZ 35’)

HT 4-0