New Caledonia’s Hienghène Sport have stunned Rewa FC in Group B of the OFC Champions League 2022, beating the Fijian side to qualify for the semi-finals.
The most recent champions of Oceania have booked a final four date with Tahiti’s AS Vénus after Fonzy Ranchain’s free-kick and Joseph Athale’s header secured their qualification at Rewa’s expense.
Both teams entered the game knowing their continued participation in the competition was on the line, with Rewa simply needing to avoid defeat to progress and Hienghène chasing a win.
With that in mind the game began with urgency, Rewa testing Jacques Nyikeine within the opening minute, the Hienghène goalkeeper recovering well to deny Abbu Zahid.
Zahid then had two golden opportunities to open the scoring, mishitting an effort inside the six-yard box before seeing a tame finish well saved by the feet of Nyikeine, skying over the rebound as Rewa looked dangerous early on.
Hienghène fought their way back into the game, Bertrand Kai and Ranchain forcing Mohammed Alam into business before Kai had the best attempt of the opening period, smashing his strike off the post just before the break.
To have any chance of reclaiming the title they won in 2019 Hienghène needed a win and just after the hour mark they moved into the lead.
Ranchain’s free-kick from the edge of the box wrongfooted Alam in the Rewa goal, who could only parry his powerful strike into the back of his own net.
Rewa were on the verge of a first round exit and their challenge became even more difficult 10 minutes later when Athale flicked on Ranchain’s free-kick delivery to stretch Hienghène’s advantage to two goals.
Alam then kept Rewa in the game with a sprawling save to deny Ranchain and despite Rewa’s best efforts Hienghène advance to take on AS Vénus in the semi-finals.
Hienghène Sport 2 (Fonzy RANCHAIN 65’, Joseph ATHALE 74’)
Rewa FC 0