Samoan champions Lupe Ole Soaga have made an early statement in the Oceania Champions League Qualifying tournament in Apia.
Buoyed on by a vocal 547 strong home crowd at the Football Federation Samoa National Stadium the hosts have defeated American Samoa champions Ilaoa &To’omata 13-0 with 20-year-old forward Michael Tumua Leo scoring five goals.
The Lupe Ole Soaga team had talked about feeling the pressure to perform in front of their home fans and perhaps it was a case of nerves early on as they squandered a couple of prime chances to open the scoring in the first 12 minutes.
First Leo after twisting inside two defenders saw his shot tipped over the bar by Fa’apaia Eti in the Ilaoa & To’omata goal. Four minutes later Lupe Ole Soaga split the American Samoan team’s defence again, but Lapalapa Toni fired high over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
That would be the last reprieve for the visitors who are making their debut in an OFC club competition. Lupe’s captain Vaa Taualai rifled the ball into the back of the net from the six-yard box in the 14th minute to open the scoring before Toni made up for his earlier miss with a powerful header in the 25th minute.
10 minutes later the hosts added a 3rd and the first for hat-trick hero Leo who after hitting the post two minutes earlier found the back of the net with a smart finish in the 35th minute. Toni added his second with a tap in the 37th before Leo rounded out the first half scoring with a sublime strike in the 44th minute for his second.
The half-time whistle offered a brief reprieve for the young inexperienced American Samoa champions who only had five players who had played outside of their country before.
Leo scored his hat-trick four minutes into the second half before defender Harrison Bolton-Roberts blasted a stunning left foot strike past the keeper three minutes later. Everything Leo did seemed to turn to gold as he added a fourth goal in the 67th minute. Jamie Mason scored the 9th goal for Lupe in the 71st before substitute Arona Matau got in on the goal scoring action two minutes later. Another replacement player Dilo Tumua fired home in the 82nd and 89th minutes for a late double to complete the rout.
Lupe Ole Soaga SC 11. (Michael TUMUA LEO 35’ 44’’ 49’ 67’ 85’ Lapalapa TONI 25’ 37’ Vaa TAUALAI 14’ Harrison BOLTON-ROBERTS 52’ Jamie MASON 71’ Arona MATAU 73’ Dilo TUMUA 82’ 89’)
Ilaoa &To’omata 0