AS Magenta will be aiming for a repeat of last year’s performance against the Solomon Warriors when the two sides face each other on Saturday night’s third and final matchday in Group C of the OFC Champions League 2020 competition in Noumea.
The New Caledonians, who scored three unanswered goals to ease past the Solomon Islanders during the same stage of the competition 12 month ago in Honiara, will this time have the added bonus of home ground advantage at Stade Numa Daly.
Although both sides are already safely through to the knockout stages, with quarterfinal hosting rights on offer for the group winners, they will be determined to finish on top of the pool.
Despite they are level on points and on goal difference going into their crucial encounter, the hosts will know that a draw is enough for them to secure group supremacy, thanks to the greater number of goals they scored in their win over AS Tiare Tahiti.
But Alain Moizan insists his side will be going for the win.
“What we want is to finish first so we can play the next match at home. According to the regulations if it’s a draw we’ll finish in first place based on the number of goals we scored, but we’ll try to win it,” explained the Magenta coach
Due to the withdrawal of Cook Islands qualifiers Tupapa Maraerenga FC from the competition, the Solomon Warriors had five days between their two matches, while the hosts only had two days to recover.
Moizan believes the extra rest will benefit their rivals.
“It’s going to be tough because the Warriors had a week to prepare, and that’s great for them. We’ll try to recover and prepare the best we can,” he added.
Meanwhile his Solomon Islands counterpart Selson Molea says his side used the past five days trying fix the mistakes from their opening match against AS Tiare.
“The break helped us to work on some of the errors from the first match,” he said.
“It’s a huge game on Saturday, and we are very focussed on preparing our game plan and work hard to make sure we will execute it well. We are looking forward to the challenge but we also know we have to step up from out previous performance,” the Warriors coach added.
Molea is expecting a tough match against the hosts but he is confident his players have the will and ability to avenge last year’s defeat to secure home advantage in the knockout stages.
“We treat this match against Magenta as a final and we want to win it to take the quarterfinal back to Honiara,” he insisted.
“Magenta is a fast team, they also have good height but we have some plans to combat that. We will have to be at our best and stick to the plan. We are confident and I have a lot of faith in my boys, they have a strong desire to win and take the next game back home,” explained Molea.
AS Magenta vs Solomon Warriors
Saturday, 07 March
Stade Numa Daly, NCL, KO: 19:00
Click on link for the live stream:
Referee: Cory MILLS (NZL)
Assistant Referee 1: Isaac TREVIS (NZL)
Assistant Referee 2: Mark RULE (NZL)
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)
Solomon Warriors 2. Haddis AENGARI, 3. Matson FENI, 4. Aengari GAGAME, 5. Dennis IFUNAOA, 6. Molea TIGI, 8. John ALICK, 9. Jerry DONGA, 11. Tony KALTACK, 13. Rolland MAMANIKA, 15. Molis Junior GAGAME, 16. Emmanuel POILA, 17. Gibson DAUDAU, 18. Lency NORMAN, 19. Molis GAGAME, 22. Bata FURAI, 26. Loea MANI, 28. Timothy MAEARASIA (GK), 29. Sammy BIRISI (GK)
Head Coach – Selson MOLEA (Solomon Islands)
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