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Sides can’t be split in opening leg of Vanuatu National Playoffs

Credit: Galaxy FC

A brilliant reaction save from Joshua Willie prevented Galaxy FC from suffering defeat in the dying minutes of an Oceania Champions League National Playoffs match which they dominated the majority of in Luganville on Saturday afternoon.

Galaxy had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession through the first 45 minutes and should have led at the break, but were instead left to rue a missed a penalty and a number of near misses in front of goal.

RueRue were guilty of being wasteful in the attacking third themselves, but will take heart from a much improved second-half effort, which culminated in them almost stealing a win in additional time, when John Tahi headed a close-range cross to goal, only for Willie to produce a brilliant save.

On the half hour mark Jayson Tari was sent from the field when he was ruled to have intentionally hit the ball with his hand in the act of saving a goal, but when Andre Batick missed the ensuing penalty the deadlock remained.

The hosts didn’t have to deal with a numerical disadvantage for long though, with Selwyn Vatu shown two yellow cards, one for a challenge and the other for dissent, minutes later to make it 10 v 10. 

With scores tied at the break, RueRue began to find their way into the match early in the second half with the Tahi siblings, John and Joseph, at the heart of the action.

First Evaristo Kapalu intervened with a last-ditch tackle to deny John Tahi who was through on goal, before the brothers combined to undo the Galaxy defence, only to again be denied by a last-ditch challenge.

A rare appearance at the attacking end for Lency Philip, and a Bong Kalo effort minutes later, should both probably have resulted in a goal for Galaxy, but both players were off target.

The result means there will be everything to play for in the return leg at Korman Stadium in Port Vila on June 25.

RueRue FC 0

Galaxy FC 0

Half-time: 0-0

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