Wsetern United, Marist out
WESTERN United and Marist FC have bowed out from entering the 2017 OFC Champions League semi-final, but secured a second place in their respective pools after impressive fights on Saturday.
Western United’s rollicking 5-3 win over Papua New Guinea’s Lae City Dwellers in Group C couldn’t deny an emphatic 11-0 win by Auckland City over Vanuatu’s Malampa Revivors at Mangere Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
In an earlier match on Saturday, Western United drew them level with Auckland City on points giving the Navy Blues only a point to confirm their place in the final four ahead of United.
But Auckland City gave Malampa Revivors a hard time to convert goal, securing a clear three points ahead United in their afternoon match.
Marist who drew level with AS Tefana to secure a 2-2 victory in the final match of Group D action in Tahiti, gave AS Tefana a run for their money to qualify them for their second OFC Champions League semifinals in a row.
In the earlier match Erakor Golden Star had been hoping to keep their dreams of semi-final qualification alive – even if by a long shot – but unfortunately for the Vanuatu side Rewa had other plans beating them 2-1 to claim their first points.
Western United were far more clinical in front of goal and raced to a three goal lead after 37 minutes thanks to a Henry Fa’arodo penalty and goals to Paul Wale and Joachim Waroi.
Benjamin Totori made a solo effort to restore the two-goal cushion after half time and Atana Fa’arodo made the points safer with an 88th minute penalty to sealed the five goals, two ahead of Lae City Dwellers.
Western United coach Commins Menapi was still happy to take the qualification race to the final match. “I am very proud of my boys today especially their win today this is a big win for us today and they did a great effort they give hundred per cent today,” Menapi told OFC Media.
Despite the two goal deficit by AS Tefana in the first half, Marist never let their heads drop and were rewarded for their determination just ahead of the break when Guilherme Guedes netted his fourth of the tournament.
Guedes was taken out down earning a penalty which he duly slotted past Hiriga to claim Marist’s second goal.
“I’m proud of the game we had,” Marist coach Juliano Schmeling said.
“The first half to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to concede two goals. The second half I was very proud of them, it was an amazing performance especially when we went 10v11.”
Both teams are expected to be back in the country this week as preparations are soon to take place for the FIFA World Cup qualifier which resumes this Thursday.
Meanwhile, AS Tefana are the fourth and final team to qualify for the OFC Champions League semi-finals where they join Auckland City FC and Team Wellington of New Zealand as well as AS Magenta of New Caledonia – the same four semi-finalists as in 2016.