Lupe Ole Soaga SC can book their place in the group stages of the OFC Champions League 2020 with a win or draw against Tupapa Maraerenga FC in Auckland on Tuesday.
Lupe’s 2-0 victory over Tongan side Veitongo FC on Saturday put them in a prime position to secure one of the two spots available from the three-team Qualifying Stage.
Getting a result against Cook Islands club Tupapa will not be an easy task though and Lupe coach Paul Ualesi said his side needed to go to another level.
“We need to jell our combinations and everything,” Ualesi said. “We need to work on some of our weaknesses.”
One of those weaknesses, in the eyes of Ualesi, was in the front third of the pitch.
“We need to improve our passing and movement and finishing. Finishing is the main key.”
Lupe were guilty of spurning a couple of good chances against Veitongo and they will need to be more clinical against Tupapa.
Defensively Lupe were organised against Veitongo and import goalkeeper Zane Green saved a penalty on Saturday and provided a safe pair of hands between the posts.
For Tupapa, they’ve had the opportunity to scout both of their opponents for their games this week.
Tupapa coach Anthony Samuela said his team was in good spirits ahead of their first match of the Qualifying Stage.
“I think the team looks fit, looking at the shape of the boys, everybody’s good,” Samuela said.
“Hopefully my boys will get better and play the game how we want to.”
National team representative Grover Harmon will be key to their chances via the midfield.
Tupapa have qualified for the group stages of the OFC Champions League for the past two years on the bounce and will be aiming to make it a hat-trick.
“We need to focus on our training and our games and go forward as a team,” Samuela said.
The winners of the Qualifying Stage will join Group D, while the runner-up will enter Group C.
In the Champions League, Group A will play their matches in Papua New Guinea between February 16-22 with Group B set to take place in Vanuatu from February 15-21. New Caledonia will host Group C, and Group D will be contested in Tahiti with both groups running between March 1-7.
The top two sides from each group will progress to the quarter-finals, which will be played between April 4-5 with the semifinals to be contested on April 25-26. The final is scheduled for May 16. The full draw, including the Qualifying Stage, can be found here.
Tupapa Maraerenga FC vs Lupe Ole Soaga SC
Tuesday 28 January
Auckland, New Zealand KO: 1600
Click on link for the live stream:
Referee: Kavitesh BEHARI (FIJ)
Assistant Referee 1: Monit SINGH (FIJ)
Assistant Referee 2: Jean-Pierre TAINAUA (TAH)
Fourth Official: Teremoana ROIHAU (TAH)
Fifth Official: Timothy NIU (SOL)
Tupapa Maraerenga FC – 1. Tahiri ELIKANA (GK), 2. Francis TEREPO, 4. Avi ENOKA, 5. Jarves APERAU, 6. Anthony SAMUELA, 8. James OSIRAMO, 9. Andre ESTAY, 10. Grover HARMON, 11. Peni KITIONA, 12. Harlem SIMIONA, 13. Emiel BURROW, 14. Graham VIKING, 15. Ishaq NAZEEM, 16. Jake STUART, 17. Lee HARMON, 18. Paul DAY, 19. Geosah GEORGE, 20. Sunai JOSEPH (GK)
Head Coach: Anthony SAMUELA (Cook Islands)
Lupe Ole Soaga SC – 1. Mataio TOETU (GK), 2. Albert BELL, 3. Suivai ATAGA, 4. Ritchievoy UELIGITONE, 5. Tauati TANOAI 6. Andrew SETEFANO, 7. Lawrie LETUTUSA, 9. Vaa TAUALAI, 10. Jarvis FILIMALAE, 11. Matthew CHANT, 12. John TEO, 13. Michael TUMUA LEO, 14. Osa SAVELIO, 16. Soliai LETUTUSA, 17. Isaako SIONE, 18. Lapalapa TONI, 20. Zane GREEN (GK), 21. Bitner TAFILI
Head Coach: Paul UALESI (Samoa)
To view the results, match schedule and latest news for the OFC Champions League 2020: Click Here