After securing a victory over closest rivals Central Sport on Tuesday, OFC Champions League Group A hosts AS Magenta are now eyeing semi-final qualification with the full complement of points.
However they’ll have to get past the growing might of Papua New Guinea representatives Madang FC who are flying high on their first victory in this competition.
Magenta and Madang will meet in the final Group A match at Stade Numa Daly in Noumea, New Caledonia at 8pm on Friday, directly after the encounter between AS Central Sport and Lupe Ole Soaga which kicks-off at 5pm.
“I expect nothing from my opponents,” Magenta coach Alain Moizan says of preparing for one last group game.
“On the other hand I expect my team to do everything possible to win, to qualify. I want to see Magenta qualify clearly – that is to say – with the full nine points.”
Magenta may have one eye on the prize already, but it’s by no means a done deal with Madang planning to add to their first-ever Champions League victory with a follow up tomorrow night.
“I’m happy with the win we got,” coach Francis Moyap said of the 4-3 victory over Lupe Ole Soaga.
“But we have another hard game coming up and so I want to let it go and finish on a high note against Magenta.”
In the opening match of the day, Central Sport is going in search of a final victory to end their debut campaign in this competition on a high note.
“We will play this match to win just as we did with our two previous games, even if we know that as a result of the game on Tuesday, our chance of qualifying has diminished greatly,” Central coach Cyril Klosek said.
“Lupe Ole Soaga is a team that had Magenta on hooks in their first match and even managed a better score against them than we did. It’s also a team that did well against the Papua New Guinea side.”
Paul Ualesi said his side may have lost their first two outings, but they won’t stop chasing a victory.
“We have done well in our first two matches. I think sometimes coming through the Qualifier we can be considered one of the easier opponents but I think in this year’s event especially we have shown we are contenders,” he said.
“We may not have a chance of the semi-finals but we are going to try and finish in the best manner possible.”
AS Central Sport [TAH] vs. Lupe Ole Soaga [SAM]
Stade Numa Daly
Noumea, New Caledonia
Friday 3 March
AS Central Sport
Vital Statistics: César Castillo and Matatia Paama are Central’s leading goal scorers with two each.
The Players: Jay Warren came in as a late starter for Central after an injury to his teammate during the warm-up. He adapted well and his hustle showed he is a worthy inclusion for tomorrow’s game.
Coach Quote: “Even though they’ve had two defeats we have to take them seriously and play as we did in our first match – with the same spirit, the same respect, and the same determination.”
AS Central Sport: 1. Bruno TETUANUI (GK), 2. Kensi TANGIS, 3. Stephane FAATIARAU, 4. Teiki KANANOU, 5. Teheiarii TAUPOTINI, 6. Gaetan SANCHEZ, 7. Efrain ARANEDA, 8. Miguel ESTAY, 9. Matatia PAAMA, 10. Manuarii HAUATA, 12. Manutahi TETARIA, 13. Diego CIFUENTES, 15. Cesar CASTILLO, 16. Vaiarii HALLIGAN (GK), 18. Anipea TAATA, 20. Jay WARREN, 22. Valdo YAKEULA, 23. Raimana DHALLUIN, 24. Sergio SANDOVAL, 30. Fenedy MASAUVAKALO
Suspended: 21. Fred TISSOT
Coach: Cyril KLOSEK [FRA]
Lupe Ole Soaga
Vital Statistics: Lupe Ole Soaga came within 20 minutes of history when they led Madang 3-2 in their previous match. No Samoan team has won a match in the current format of the OFC Champions League.
The Players: The difference Lapalapa Toni makes to the squad was apparent upon his return from suspension. His speed and accuracy up front a key to Lupe proving dangerous on the counter-attack. Cherbel Khouchaba is also proving a great attacker and is currently joint-leading scorer in the group.
Coach Quote: “We need to think positive. We’re not high minded but we’ll be trying our best to compete at this level and to beat this Tahiti side.”
Lupe Ole Soaga: 1. Faalavelave MATAGI (GK), 2. Vaalii FAALOGO, 3. Spencer KELI, 4. Vaa TAUALAI, 5. Vito LALOATA, 6. Darren ALATINA TALILAI, 7. Lawrie LETUTUSA, 8. Samuel MALO, 10. Lapalapa TONI, 11. Tim HUNT, 12. Suepasi PELESA, 13. John TEO, 14. Michael FIFI’I, 15. Faafua ATAGA LALOATA, 16. Cherbel KHOUCHABA, 17. Kareti SOAFA, 18. Jack KEMP (GK), 19. Bird VAGAIA, 20. Reasat ISLAM
Suspended: 9. Suivai ATAGA
Coach: Paul UALESI [SAM]
AS Magenta [MAG] vs. Madang FC [MDG]
Stade Numa Daly
Noumea, New Caledonia
Friday 3 March
Vital Statistics: Former professional footballer Nicolas Marin has been impressive in front of goal marking three in two games for Magenta.
The Players: Jeremie Dokunengo is not only a great leader but an excellent full-back. He keeps an eye on the everything from his post and is able to transition quickly whenever he sees danger on the horizon.
Coach Quote: “The last match we’ll play to win. It’s a game we won’t give up in. We want to secure the full nine points so we can be a deserving semi-finalist.”
AS Magenta: 1. Steeve IXOEE (GK), 2. Jean-Christ WAJOKA, 3. Jean Brice WADRIAKO, 4. Gregory TARAMOIN, 5. Jeremie DOKUNENGO, 7. Joseph ATHALE, 8. Tado WELEPANE, 9. Gwena POULAWA, 10. Joerisse CEXOME, 11. Kevin NEMIA, 12. Yorick IEKAWE, 13. Yorick HNAUTRA, 14. Nicholas MARIN, 15. Didier SIMANE, 16. Eric HENESSEWENE, 17. Pierrot JELEWED, 18. Wilsen POAMENO, 19. Marek AUCHER, 20. Bill NICHOLLS, 21. Kevin LOLOHEA, 29. Victor MESSEAUD (GK), 30. Mickael ULILE (GK)
Suspended: 6. Kevin MAITRAN
Coach: Alain MOIZAN [FRA]
Vital Statistics: Madang secured their first OFC Champions League victory against Lupe Ole Soaga when they came on strong in the second half to win 4-3.
The Players: Patrick Aisa is an excellent addition to this squad for his experience and also his ability to press forward, and willingness to drop back and collect. Samuel Kini showed himself to be a key member with his winning goal.Magent
Coach Quote: “Samoa have a good team, they held New Caledonia 2-1 so they will be a good challenge for us.”
Madang FC: 1. Glen AGAT (GK), 3. Nigel MALAGIAN, 4. Don ANGONGI, 5. Langarap SAMOL, 6. Samuel KINI, 8. Solomon MAPAI, 9. Patrick AISA, 10. Eliuda POHEI, 11. Vanya MALAGIAN, 12. Darren STEVEN, 13. Hanson TOPIO, 14. Michael TOLE, 15. Vincent WAROI, 16. Papalau AWELE, 17. Jacob SABUA, 18. Stahl GUBAG, 19. Steven INIA, 20. Kusuga KOMOLONG (GK), 21. Maskulan PULUNG, 23. Leehan MANASEH (GK)
Suspended: 7. Maximillion SENGUM
Coach: Francis MOYAP [PNG]
For further information about this competition visit www.oceaniafootball.com