Auckland City FC have their eyes on earning a home quarter-final ahead of their final OFC Champions League Group D match against Lupe Ole Soaga SC.
Lupe have been the surprise package of the pool after the qualifiers upset Ba FC 4-3 in their second outing marking the first time a Samoan club had won a match in the group stage of the competition.
On the other hand, Auckland City have gone about their business with precision and have won their first two games in Group D without conceding a goal.
Home advantage in the OFC Champions League is of great importance and Auckland City coach Jose Figueira expected Lupe to pose a unique challenge at Stade Mahina in Tahiti at 5pm on Saturday (TAH time).
“They’ve got a real desire and hunger and unity in the team and they generally start matches very, very quickly, as they did in the first game and for sure in the second game where they took a big lead, so we’ve got to be ready for that,” Figueira said.
“So we’ve got to recover and be fully focussed. We want to make sure we get that home quarter-final.”
The coach said he would have a simple message for his players who only need a draw to lock up top spot in the pool.
“I think it’s that we want to win every game that we play. We want to try and play and control the game and dominate.”
Figueira hinted that he may rotate some of his squad for the match and defender Adam Mitchell seems likely to get a run given he is the only outfield player not to take the field in the first two fixtures.
Lupe coach Paul Ualesi said his side would not back down from the tall task of facing the Navy Blues.
“Like we’ve said before the start of the season, we are here to compete, we are not here to participate,” he said.
“Auckland will give us some challenges but, like I said, it’s good to [be] challenged. You can improve from that.”
In the 8pm game, home side Venus will know what they need to do before kick-off if they want to make the quarter-finals. The result of the Auckland City and Lupe match will dictate terms.
The best thing Venus can do – regardless of the pre-match permutations – is to beat Ba, which should take care of everything.
Venus put up an almighty fight as they went down 1-0 to Auckland City on Wednesday but their attacking prowess was on full display when they opened their Champions League campaign with a 6-0 defeat of Lupe last Sunday.
Ba have struggled in the competition with two defeats and given they’ve only played one game in their ongoing national league, they may be slightly underdone compared to the other sides.
Venus coach Sam Garcia said he expected a stern challenge from the Fijian champions.
“The more matches they play, the better they will perform. So, it will be a tough match on Saturday. They’re a good side, I know some of the players, they’re internationals,” he said.
“But we’ll do what we can to qualify, that’s all that counts now.”
Ba would need some unlikely results for them to go through to the quarter-finals and coach Ricki Herbert said their game with Venus presented a chance for his players to go out on a high.
“It’s international football isn’t it? It’s an international competition and I think it’s a great chance to showcase yourself and just perform well,” Herbert said.
Auckland City FC vs Lupe Ole Soaga SC
Saturday, 7 March
Tahiti, KO: 17:00
Click on link for the live stream: http://bit.ly/2HZQf1f
Referee: George TIME (SOL)
Assistant Referee 1: Johnny NIABO (SOL)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephen SENIGA (SOL)
Fourth Official: Hamilton SIAU (SOL)
Fifth Official: Marc SINYEUE (NCL)
Auckland City FC – 2. Mario ILICH, 3. Adam MITCHELL, 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA, 6. Brian KALTACK, 7. Cameron HOWIESON, 8. Albert RIERA, 9. Myer BEVAN, 10. Dylan MANICKUM, 11. Tom DOYLE, 13. Emiliano TADE, 14. Jordan VALE, 17. Andrew BLAKE, 18. Conor TRACEY, 20. Logan ROGERSON, 22. Clayton LEWIS, 23. Alfie ROGERS, 24. Cameron BROWN
Head Coach – Jose FIGUEIRA (England)
Lupe Ole Soaga SC – 2. Albert BELL, 3. Suivai ATAGA, 4. Ritchievoy UELIGITONE, 5. Tauati TANOAI, 6. Andrew SETEFANO, 7. Jamie MASON, 8. Arona MATAU, 9. Vaa TAUALAI, 10. Jarvis FILIMALAE, 11. Tomas MOSQUERA, 12. John TEO, 13. Bitner TAFILI, 14. Osa SAVELIO, 15. Ronnie BOURNE, 16. Soliai LETUTUSA, 17. Isaako SIONE, 20. Zane GREEN
Head Coach – Paul UALESI (Samoa)
AS Venus vs Ba FC
Saturday, 7 March
Tahiti, KO: 20:00
Click on link for the live stream: http://bit.ly/2TiKp08
Referee: Mederic LACOUR (NCL)
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy GARAE (VAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Bertrand BRIAL (NCL)
Fourth Official: Joel HOPKEN (VAN)
Fifth Official: Marc SINYEUE (NCL)
AS Venus – 1. Teave TEAMOTUAITAU, 3. Kevin BARBE, 4. Jean-Claude PARAUE, 5. Hauragi HURI, 6. Tefai FAEHAU, 7. Marama AMAU, 8. Pothin POMA, 9. Tauhiti KECK, 10. Teaonui TEHAU, 11. Yann PENNEQUIN-LE-BRAS, 12. Mauarii TEHINA, 13. Stanley ATANI, 15. Ariiura LABASTE, 16. Etienne TAVE, 17. Tamatoa TETAUIRA, 19. Tehotu GITTON, 20. Kitin MARO, 22. Tevaearai TAMATAI
Head Coach – Samuel GARCIA (Tahiti)
Ba FC – 1. Beniamino MATEINAQARA, 4. Manasa NAWAKULA, 6. Simione NABENU, 7. Micah TOMMY, 8. Darold KAKASI, 9. Abbu ZAHID, 10. Savenaca NAKALEVU, 11. Ilimotama JESE, 14. Samuela DRUDRU, 15. Saula WAQA, 16. Malakai TIWA, 17. Benjamin TOTORI, 18. Laisenia NAIOKO, 19. Sanaila WAQANICAKAU, 20. Sumeet GOUNDAR, 21. Atunaisa NAUCUKIDI, 22. Misiwani NAIRUBE
Head Coach – Ricki HERBERT (New Zealand)
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