(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek)

The second edition of the OFC Futsal Men’s Champions League is off to a thrilling start in New Caledonia.

Mataks FC from the Solomon Islands has come from behind in the second half to beat UNV FC from Vanuatu 3-2 in a high-quality opener at the ‘Arene du Sud’ in Paita near Noumea.

Both sides had periods of dominance throughout the physical encounter but in the end, it took a penalty from Billy Afi to secure the three points for Mataks FC.

UNV started the stronger of the two sides and created a couple of early chances that forced strong saves from Mataks FC goalkeeper Lordrick Afia.

But somewhat against the run of play Mataks FC opened the scoring in the 4th minute when Junior Mana tapped in after a shot across the goal from his brother Ellis Mana.

Another veteran of Solomon Islands Futsal Clifford Misitana missed a good chance to double the lead in the 7th minute when his left footed shot fired wide as the Solomon Islanders ramped up the pressure.

Alex Wilkins equalised for UNV in the 9th minute when he slotted it home after a lovely run and pass from Jayson Timatua. Two minutes later UNV should have gone ahead when they had a two on one situation, but a stray pass saw the opportunity go begging.

Timatua forced a save out of Afia in the 13th minute and then Sandy Mesau and Paul Nalau missed a golden chance to take the lead as UNV finished the half the stronger of the two teams.

Charles Kiniole was put through with three minutes left in the half, but Sterry Tor made a good block rushing out of his goal for the Vanuatu side.

With 1-1 at the break, it took just 24 seconds in the second spell to break the deadlock with a scintillating individual goal from Vanuatu international Yassin Berukilukilu who ran down the left and fired a sensational shot with the outside of his foot into the corner of the net to put UNV in front.

The lead was short lived however as Billy Afi replied with a brilliant strike of his own, curling past a hapless Tor in the UNV FC goal.

A flurry of yellow cards followed as the battle got more intense as the match wore on.

Eight minutes into the second half Junior Mana missed a golden chance to put Mataks FC in front firing wide from almost point-blank range.

After Afi’s second from the spot there were a flurry of action at both ends but no further scoring action.

Mataks FC    3 (Junior MANA 4’ Billy AFI 23’ 33’)

UNV FC         2 (Alex WILKINS 9’ Yassin BERUKILUKILU 21’)

 HT 1-1