Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

Defending champions Tahiti have got their title defence off to the perfect start with an impressive victory over Tonga on Match Day 1 at the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup in Papeete.

The two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup runners-up dominated the majority of the affair, showing why they have become the dominant side in Oceania beach soccer over the past decade.

8 first period goals put the Tahitians firmly in charge, with a double for Patrick Tepa and a outstanding effort from distance by goalkeeper Jonathan Torohia the pick of the bunch. Tonga worked hard but struggled to play into the game though did come close to getting on the scoresheet with an effort crashing off the post.

Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

The champions picked up where they left off in the second 12-minute period, adding a further 9 goals, with Patrick Tepa adding to his tally as Tonga were left chasing shadows against their rampant opponents.

The Tongans did find the breakthrough, with Sione Tutone grabbing a double in quick succession to give his side something to build on in the remainder of the tournament.

The final period was a story of further Tahiti dominance, with another 9 added to the scoresheet. A second goal for goalkeeper Jonathan Torohia also arrived, with the stopper a constant presence throughout with his efforts from distance.

Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek

Tonga were able to add a late third to give them something to celebrate as the hosts laid down a marker in their opening match on home sand.

Tahiti captain Raimana Li Fung Kuee says it’s a good start but he felt Tonga had improved from where they were four years ago.

“The Tonga team was very brave and it had to be a good performance for us to build confidence for the next game against the Solomon Islands.” Li Fung Kuee said.

Tonga coach Penisimani Fatafehi is proud of his side’s performance saying they never gave up against a powerful opponent.

” We are young and learning all the time so we will take a lot into the next game and make some changes for the game against Fiji. We didn’t have any matches as preparation, only training so today will benefit us.” Fatafehi said.

Next up for the defending champions is the stern test of the Solomon Islands, whilst Tonga will look to bounce back when they face Fiji.

Tahiti: 26 (Raimana LI FUNG KUEE ‘1, Patrick TEPA 2’, 4’, 13’, 13’, 19, 22’, Tamatoa TETAUIRA ‘3, 26’, Teaonui TEHAU ‘7, Jonathan TOROHIA 8’, 31’, Heirauarii SALEM 9’ 20’, 21’ 25’ 27’ 30’, Tearii LABASTE 9’, Roonui TINIRAUARII 20’, Heimanu TAIARUI 22’ 34’, Rainui TZE-YU 23’, 26’ 29’, Heiarii TAVANAE 28’)
Tonga: 3 (Sione TUTONE 19’, 21’, Harlen ULAVALU 36’)