Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium is set for a thrilling afternoon of football as the race to reach the OFC Champions League 2020 knock-out stages heats up.

Group A leaders Galaxy FC and second-placed Eastern Suburbs AFC will go into Saturday’s third and final matchday knowing that avoiding defeat will be enough for them the secure their passage to the next phase.

However, riding the wave of home support, 2010 champions Hekari United as well as defending champions Hienghene Sport from New Caledonia will also back themselves to get the results they need in order to secure their places in the final eight of the competition.

Victories for Hienghene Sport against Eastern Suburbs and for Hekari United against Galaxy FC would give four points to all four teams in Group A, bringing the dreaded goal difference into the equation.

Hienghene Sport and Auckland-based Eastern Suburbs will kick-off the day’s proceedings at midday local time.

Following a sluggish start by the reigning champions in their opener against Galaxy FC, Felix Tagawa’s men showed plenty of fighting spirit and glimpses of their class to earn a share of the points in a keenly contested encounter against Hekari United on Wednesday.

Despite their negative, minus three goal difference, the experienced and battle hardened New Caledonians will believe in their ability to turn their fortunes around.

“We still have a chance to get through,” insisted Felix Tagawa.

“It’s a very good and interesting group with good even teams playing in a great stadium and in front of some great supporters, and it’s still wide open, every team still has a chance to qualify,” added the Hienghene Sport coach.

Although a draw will be enough for Eastern Suburbs to secure one of the two available qualification spots up for grabs, the New Zealand outfit will be aiming for a win in their quest to top the group and earn a home quarterfinal.

However, following two tough, energy sapping matches in the stifling Port Moresby conditions, Tony Readings’ charges will need to draw on all of their reserves if they want to achieve their goal.

“We are fully focussed on winning that game,” declared the Eastern Suburbs coach.

“For us the main focus is on recovery and trying to get as many fit players on the pitch as we can.  We have a couple of injuries from the match against Galaxy which is unfortunate. So we just need to refresh and stick to what we have been doing in this tournament because it’s been working so far apart from a couple of little slip ups,” he added.

Similarly to Eastern Suburbs, top of the table Galaxy FC will also qualify for the next stages if they secure at least a draw against Hekari United.

The tournament newcomers from Vanuatu have been in fantastic form in their opening two matches, brushing aside the reigning champions before earning an impressive 2-all draw with Eastern Suburbs despite playing the majority of the second half against the Kiwis with a man down.

Blessed with plenty of attacking options through Terence Carter, Roberson Dos Santos Ribiero and Kensi Tangis, the Port Vila-based side will receive a timely boost with the availability of the dangerous Bong Kalo, who will return from suspension to provide his team with fresh legs and another goalscoring avenue.

Batram Suri’s men will have every reason to be confident about their chances of progressing, and the Galaxy coach is cautiously optimistic.

“Every single game in this group is tough and against Hekari it will be the same. It will be an important match to decide whether we can reach the second round, but I believe that we can get through if we perform to our ability,” said Suri.

Meanwhile local favourites Hekari United will have to win and turn their negative, minus one goal difference around if they want to advance from Group A.

Home support will be crucial for Jerry Allen’s men and the coach is confident in his players’ ability to deliver to their fans.

“We know this is the “pool of death” and every team is very good,” said the Hekari coach.

“It’s not over yet, we have one more game and if we can perform in that game we will be alright. Galaxy are a good team but this is football, we will come you come and to work really hard for 90 minutes to achieve what we want,” added Allen.

Additional Information

Hienghene Sport vs Eastern Suburbs
Saturday, 22 February
Sir John Guise Stadium
Port Moresby, KO: 12:00

Click on link for the live stream:

Match Officials
Referee: Ben AUKWAI [SOL]
Assistant Referee 1: Folio MOEAKI [TGA]
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard MUTUKERA [SOL]
Fourth Official: Timothy NIU [SOL]

Hienghene Sport – 1. Rocky NYIKEINE,  4. Bruno HYANEM, 5. Jordan DINET, 6. Cedrick SANSOT,  10. Miguel KAYARA, 11. Bertrand KAI, 12. Amy Antoine ROINE,  13. Roy KAYARA, 14. Gianny KAYARA, 17. Rayan OUE, 19. Joseph ATHALE, 2o. Georgy BAMY, 22. Jean Luc DECOIRE, 23. Nelson KAI,  25. Georges WAKANUMUNE, 27.  Emile BEARUNE, 30. Yvanoe BAMY, 31. Jacques NYIKEINE
Head Coach – Felix TAGAWA (New Caledonia)

Eastern Suburbs AFC – 1. Danyon DRAKE, 3. Tyler LISSETTE, 4. Kelvin KALUA, 5. Alec SOLOMONS,  6. Adam THOMAS,  7. Michael BUILT,  8. Adam THURSTON, 9. Martin BUENO, 10. Reid DRAKE,  12. Kingsley SINCLAIR, 14. Leon VAN DEN HOVEN,  15. Stafford DOWLING, 16. Christian GRAY, 18. Matthew PALMER, 20. Jake MECHELL, 21. Ryan VERNEY, 23. Campbell STRONG,  25. Mackenzie WAITE,  27. Jade MESIAS
Head Coach – Tony READINGS (England)

Hekari United
Saturday, 22 February
Sir John Guise Stadium
Port Moresby, KO: 15:00

Click on link for the live stream:

Match Officials
Referee: Veer SINGH [FIJ]
Assistant Referee 1: Avinesh NARAYAN [FIJ]
Assistant Referee 2: Adriu NAISIROKI [FIJ]
Fourth Official: Deepak RAJ [FIJ]

Hekari United – 2. Daniel JOE,  3. Otto KUSUNAN, 4. Erick JOE,  6. Junior DAVID, 7. Langarap SAMOL,  8. Michael FOSTER,  9. Ati KEPO, 10. Kolu KEPO,  11. Vinicius REIS KRYZOZUN, 12. David MUTA, 13. Vito LALOATA, 15. Wilson GIASUAU, 16. Nathan JAMES,  19. Koriak UPAIGA, 20, Ishmael POLE,  21. Patrick AISA,  24. Vanya MALAGIAN,  30. Dave TOMARE,
Head Coach – Jerry ALLEN (Solomon Islands)

Galaxy FC  – 1. Seiloni IARUEL,  3. Diego  MAXIMO, 4. Moli VUTI, 5. Joseph IARUEL, 6. Ignace YAMACK, 7. Gagame FENI, 9. Terence CARTER, 10. Roberson DOS SANTOS RIBIERO, 11. Bong KALO, 14. Henry NAMATAK, 15. Alphonsee LENCY,  17. Nelson SALE, 18. Barry MANSALE,  20. Selwyn VATU, 21. Ruben FRANK,  22. Malakai MAKITO, 23. Eddison STEPHEN, 24. Kensi TANGIS
Head Coach – Batram SURI (Vanuatu)

To view the results, match schedule and latest news for the OFC Champions League 2020: Click Here