A clinical performance from Team Wellington saw them run to a 7-1 victory over Samoan club champions in the opening Group D match at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara this afternoon while hosts Marist were once again held to a 1-1 draw, this time by AS Magenta.
After struggling to find their composure in front of goal against the home side Marist in their opening OFC Champions League match, Team Wellington had no such trouble this afternoon as Taylor Schrijvers nailed the opening goal within the first two minutes of the match.
It set the tone for a Team Wellington goal-fest as the side’s Guernsey FC recruit Ross Allen found his form to net twice in the first half. His hat-trick came on the 68th minute, at which point it was time for a breather as coach Jose Figuiera brought Daniel Mulholland on.
The 20-year-old Jack-Henry Sinclair scored a tidy goal at the end of the first half, with substitutes Mulholland and Nathaneael Hailemariam rounding out the scoring.
Lupe weren’t without their own chances, with a couple of efforts putting the backline and goalkeeper Scott Basalaj to the test. However it required a second half penalty for the Samoans to get on the board, with Lapalapa Toni stepping up and sending Basalaj one way as he slotted in the other side.
Figuiera said it was a good outing for his side, especially after the opening result.
“I’m really happy, it’s important after the first game to bounce back and get the three points,” Figuiera said.
“I was delighted with the way the boys went about it. Scoring seven and controlling the game is one thing at home, but doing it here in near 40 degrees is spectacular from the boys so I’m really proud.”
Lupe Ole Soaga coach Paul Ualesi said his team were beaten by a better side this afternoon.
“First of all congratulations to Team Wellington for the game. I know some were outside, we played a lot of silly mistakes and there were a lot of goals.
“It was a good challenge and a first time against a New Zealand team. I think next time we will come after them, we will fight again.”
In the late match both Marist and Magenta were expecting improved performances with Marist after their first win, and Magenta hoping to continue their winning run.
That meant fans were in for a treat with some fast-paced back-and-forth football to keep them entertained from very early on.
Marist defender made a couple of daring runs forward against Team Wellington, but had been apprehensive about advancing too far given the opponents ability to counter-attack. While he remained reserved in his approach, when the opportunity to push forward for a corner came up he took it.
The decision paid off as his height advantage allowed him to get above the defence and nail a header past Magenta goalkeeper Mickael Ulile in the fifth minute.
Magenta hit back six minutes later when Joseph Athale nailed a volley from the top of the penalty area for the equaliser.
Despite numerous chances for both teams the deadlock couldn’t be broken forcing the two to take a share of the points.
For both coaches it was a frustrating outing.
“We started well, we scored early and I though we would be good but we gave it away and they scored,” Marist’s Jerry Allen said.
“It was really tough for us today but we still have a chance in our final game.”
It was a similar feeling for Alain Moizan who would have liked to take the full complement home from Lawson Tama today.
“We have the impression that we’ve lost two points,” he said.
“Overall it was a close match and probably with better control from us we could have won. It’s football, you need to be effectual in front of the goal and once again today, we weren’t.”
Friday is the final day for Group D with Team Wellington playing AS Magenta in the opening match at 1pm. Lupe Ole Soaga will meet Marist in the last game of the group at 4pm.