Hosts AS Magenta will finally get their OFC Champions League 2020 campaign underway against Group C rivals AS Tiare Tahiti on Wednesday night under lights at Noumea’s iconic Stade Numa Daly.
Following the withdrawal of Cook Islands representatives Tupapa Maraerenga, the New Caledonians’ opening match on Sunday was cancelled, allowing coach Alain Moizan to watch AS Tiare’s opener against the Solomon Warriors from the stands.
With only limited information available on the tournament debutants from Tahiti, their keenly contested 1-nil defeat to the Solomon Islands champions provided the Magenta coach with valuable observations.
“Tiare have a simple and obvious gameplan of beating the midfield with long passes in search of their three strikers, it’s always tricky and risky to play against,” he explained.
“It will be up to us to counter their style by pressing high to prevent the passes, or by watchful marking of their attackers. It’s easy to say hard to achieve,” added Moizan.
Last year’s tournament runners-up will have the added pressure as the only New Caledonian team left in the competition following the ill-fated title defence of Hienghene Sport, who were eliminated from Group A in Port Moresby.
Since the new domestic league in New Caledonia will only start at the completion of the Champions League group stages, Moizan is somewhat unsure about his players’ fitness level going into their opening match.
“We still have a lot of doubt about our ability to keep pace throughout the game. The players only had a few practise matches in their legs, so a lot of questions remain and we just have to wait and see how it unfolds during the game,” the Magenta coach lamented.
Meanwhile, AS Tiare Tahiti’s first taste of continental football has ended in a narrow loss to the Solomon Warriors.
The Tahitian newcomers from the island of Moorea have created a number of good goalscoring opportunities in the final third, but their inabilty to finish hurt them in the end.
With their margin for error all but gone, Vatea Terai’s men will need to improve quickly in front of goal if they want to keep their qualification hopes alive.
“We have no other option, we must win on Wednesday,” he said.
“We will work hard and do our best, we know if we want to qualify for the quarterfinals we must defeat Magenta,” added the AS Tiare coach.
AS Magenta vs AS Tiare Tahiti
Wednesday, 04 March
Stade Numa Daly, NCL, KO: 20:00
Click on link for the live stream:
Referee: Matthew CONGER (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Isaac TREVIS (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Hilmon SESE (VAN)
Fourth Official: Veer SINGH (FIJ)
AS Magenta – 1. Steeve IXOEE (GK), 2. Jean Christ WAJOKA, 3. Jean Brice WADRIAKO, 4. Gaeton GOPE-IWATE, 5. Mickael TIAOU, 6. Fonzy RANCHAIN, 7. Kevin MAITRAN, 8. Nathanael HMAEN, 9. Jeremy JENO, 11. Kevin NEMIA, 12. Shene WELEPANE, 13. Jean-Marie HMALOKO, 14. Damien WANAPOPO, 15. Didier SIMANE, 16. Nicodem HMAEN, 18. Renaldo NONMEU, 19. Maxime PELLUCHON, 21. Wilsen POAMENO
Head Coach – Alain MOIZAN (France)
AS Tiare Tahiti – 2. Jason JONES, 3. Karl FIRIAPU, 5. Nick TAUOTAHA, 6. Junior TIAOAO 7.Tevairoa TEHURITAUA, 8. Harold AVODAGBE, 9. Tevaihau TEHURITAUA 10. Manarii PORLIER, 11. Toahiti GERMAIN, 12. Raihani SWAPP, 13. Urarii HANERE, 14. Rico HARING, 15. Tohivea HARING, 16. Rick MOU, 17. Marii TAURUA, 23. Hiria GUILLOUX, 24. Bio ODO CHABI, 25. Heiarii MAPERI, 28. Vaiarii HALLIGAN (GK), 30. Michel MANEA (GK)
Head Coach – Vatea TERAI (Tahiti)
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