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Magenta ruthless in securing semi-final berth

Magenta won big to secure their place in the OFC Champions League semi-finals. Credit: OFC via Massimo Colombini

Magenta have undoubtedly earned their place in the semi-final of the 2019 OFC Champions League after a flood of second half goals helped them see off hosts AS Central Sport by eight unanswered goals.

There was very little for Magenta coach Alain Moizan to complain about in a performance which saw his front-line tear shreds off their opponent, however despite his delight he admitted the role of coach doesn’t end with the result on the scoreboard.

“When you’re a coach you’re never really happy, even when you win by a big margin like this. The first half was difficult, the players were nervous – too nervous.

“They didn’t adapt well to the field, what was at stake was in their minds. We managed to score twice, but missed a penalty. The second half, fitness was the difference,” Moizan said.

Central started well and looked the best chance to open the scoring in the early exchanges of the match and with Magenta picking up two early cautions it looked like it might be the local sides chance to advance to their first OFC Champions League semi-final.

However, the visitors had other ideas.

A Central free kick was well defended, allowing Magenta to hit on the break at pace. Nathanael Hmaen brought down a long ball before cutting it across the box to Richard Sele who placed it perfectly past keeper Tetahio Teriinohopuaiterai.

Jonathan Tehau looked like he might get the equaliser just a few moments later but he fired his effort over the target, and instead it was Magenta adding to their tally with a fantastic strike from Hmaen front distance into the top of the net.

Sele was brought down in the box just inside the 32nd minute which saw the referee, New Zealander Matt Conger, point to the spot. Hmaen was behind the ball hoping to convert but instead he lashed his effort over the target.

Coming into the second half the local fans were hoping for a comeback from their side however in the end it only got worse for Central.

A long ball over the defence was picked up by Hmaen who fired it behind a diving Teriinohopuaiterai. Hmaen well and truly made up for his earlier penalty miss when he found the back of the net for a second time five minutes later, connecting beautifully with a Sele corner and blasting the ball into the back of the net.

Magenta were on a roll at this point, soon making it fifth as Didier Simane cut the ball back for an arriving Yorick Hnautra who chipped it over the goalkeeper. It took just a further five minutes for Magenta to add their sixth with Kevin Neemia taking the honours courtesy of a perfectly-timed connection with a Sele cross.

Neemia was the author of the sixth as he beat the offside trap to go one v one with the keeper, wrong-footing him as he placed it neatly inside the near post. Neemia finished things off in the 90th minute as he arrived once more to finish a low cross, this time from Jean Christ Wajoka, nailing the team’s eighth and securing a memorable hat-trick for himself.

AS Central Sport coach Efrain Araneda couldn’t have been more disappointed with the result, a heavy loss for a side that had worked so hard to secure a place in the quarter finals, and who hoped to extend that run into the semi-finals.

“For a start we were missing two important players, starting players, but we don’t want to make excuses. The first half we weren’t effective, we had some chances but we didn’t do what we need to with them. Magenta on the other hand were much more effective with the opportunities they had,” he said.

“The second half we changed the system a little to try and be more effective up front, but it weakened the backline and we paid the price.  When you aren’t able to have the team you want it’s complicated especially against a side like Magenta which is quick, aggressive and very effective.

“We’re sad, especially in respect to the image that we’ve shown the public and I’m sorry on behalf of the entire team, because it’s not the image of Tahiti football.”

AS Magenta will now welcome Auckland City FC to Stade Numa Daly in Noumea, New Caledonia for the semi-final of the OFC Champions League in late April.

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