Final four in fight for final
The two New Zealand representatives will both need to overcome Francophone opposition if they want to set up a repeat of last year’s OFC Champions League title decider.
Reigning champions Auckland City face Tahitian side AS Tefana who qualified for the semis as the best second place finisher in the group’stages. In the second semi-final 2015 runners-up Team Wellington will meet AS Magenta from New Caledonia.
Chasing their sixth title in a row Auckland City are taking the favourit’s tag into their semi-final showdown with Tefana.
The Navy Blues have produced three similar matches on their way to topping Group A. Their patient, possession-based approach helps to tire their opponents before they pounce in the latter stages of the game where more often than not, they secure the win.
Coach Ramon Tribulietx is promising much the same from his side for the semi-finals.
“We respect Tefana and they had two more rest days which could be a factor. However, we will go into the match confident in our ability,” he says.
“We believe in our style and we don’t panic.”
Tefana had to endure an anxious wait before being confirmed as the best runners-up from the group’stages. After finishing behind Magenta in Group C, the Tahitian side had to rely on other results to go their way.
Sebastian Labayen’s men were disappointing against AS Magenta but showed plenty of firepower to thrash Samoan outfit Kiwi 7-0.
That win proved crucial to the side’s progression to the semis ahead Hekari United and Amicale thanks to their superior goal difference.
The Tefana boss insists his players cannot afford to worry about their opposition, indicating the key to their success will be to implement their own philosophy and to execute their game plan.
“No matter who the opposition or who we meet during this competition, we have to impose our style on the game.”
In Wednesday’s other semi-final Team Wellington will be hoping to build on their last Group B performance against Hekari United.
The New Zealand champions opening two group matches had been somewhat unconvincing. Following a lackluster 2-0 win over Suva, Matt Calcotts’s men were made to work hard to edge past New Caledonian’s AS Lössi with a nervy 2-1 win.
However, they seemed to have found form in their top-of-the table Group A decider against Hekari to record an impressive 4-0 win over the 2010 champions.
The manner of that victory will give the men from the New Zealand capital plenty of confidence, but Calcott insists they will not underestimate their opponent.
“We know that they have done extremely well in their domestic league back in New Caledonia. I watched their game against Tefana and they were very impressive and well organised by their coach Alain Moizan,” he says.
“They hold possession well, they are technically good and they have some quality individuals in their ranks.”
Magenta will go into the match against Team Wellington with the hopes of reaching the OFC Champions League final for the first time in ten years.
The New Caledonians looked impressive in all three of their group matches to ease past Nadi, Kiwi and Tefana.
Moizan’s side are determined to carry on their winning ways but the coach admits Team Wellington will pose a stern test.
“Team Wellington play at a very high level. We have a lot of respect for them but we can’t really afford to worry about what they do. We are here to win.”
The OFC would like to acknowledge its sponsors iRENA, Telikom PNG, Konika Minolta, Tranzit Coachlines, Frucor and UNICEF.
Auckland City FC vs. AS Tefana
Auckland, New Zealand
Wednesday, 20 April, 2016
Referee: Salesh CHAND (FIJ)
Assistant Referee 1: Ravinesh KUMAR (FIJ)
Assistant Referee 2: Bernard MUTUKERA (SOL)
Fourth Official: Médéric LACOUR (NCL)
Auckland City FC
The players: Auckland City’s Joao Moreira has been in inspired form throughout the group’stages. The 30-year old Portuguese striker is one of the favourit’s for the golden boot after scoring in all three of his group matches to take his tournament tally to five goals. Ryan De Vries also looked dangerous going forward and after a couple of assists he was visibly delighted to get on the scoresheet against Amicale.
The vital statistics: The seven-time champion’s possession football can be underlined by the fact that in each of their three previous matches they had a 70 per cent share of the ball. The Navy Blues have so far amassed an impressive 61 shots on goal with 20 of them hitting the target. They also look relatively comfortable at the back conceding only once from the four accurate shots so far on Diego Rivas’s goal.
Coach Quote: “When you have a one-off game like this it’s always tricky. They play a similar style to us, they are good on the ball and like to play out of the back. They are also physical and in a match like that everyone will give 150 per cent.”
Squad list: 1. Jacob SPOONLEY (GK), 2. Marko DORDEVIC, 3. Takuya IWATA 4. Mario BILEN, 5. Angel BERLANGA 6. Jesse EDGE, 7. Reid DRAKE, 8. Michael DEN HEIJER, 9. Darren WHITE, 10. Ryan DE VRIES, 11. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 12. Nicolai BERRY, 13. Alfred ROGERS, 14. Clayton LEWIS, 15. Ivan VICELICH, 16. Daewook KIM, 17. Joao MOREIRA, 18. Danyon DRAKE (GK), 19. Micah LEA’ALFA, 20. Emiliano TADE, 22. Andrew MILNE, 24. Diego RIVAS (GK), 25. Fabrizio TAVANO
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx (ESP)
The players: Tefana have plenty of firepower with eight different goal-scorers in their three group matches. Even more impressively five of those players including Taumihau Tiatia, Tauatua Lucas, Temarii Tinorua, Tunoa Tevaearai and Stanley Atani have managed to put the ball in the back of the net twice. Meanwhile key defenders Angelo Tchen and Nicolas Vallar will be crucial at the back following their return from suspension.
The vital statistics: The Tahitians’ main strength has been their willingness to go forward as well as their quality in the final third. From their combined tally of 58 shots on goal only 24 have missed the target.
Coach quote: “We have quantity and quality with us here and we are confident that we can continue to do well in this competition. We need to play our game and be effective in front of their goal so we can do the best we possibly can.”
Squad list: 1. Stevens HIRIGA (GK), 2. Yoann LE FOLL, 3. Taumihau TIATIA, 5. Tauatua LUCAS, 6. Tunoa TEVAEARAI, 7. Temarii TINORUA, 8. Heremoana HOATA, 9. Tauhiti KECK, 10. Steevy CHONG HUE, 11. Tehina TEMORERE, 12. Alvin TEHAU, 13. Stanley ATANI, 14. Jonathan TEHAU, 15. Jean Claude CHANG KOEI CHANG, 16. Manutea TAAE, 17. Manutahi TEREMATE, 18. Kaena ONUU, 19. Heimano BOUREBARE, 20. Olivier LEE, 21. Angelo TCHEN, 22. Nicholas VALLAR, 23. Xavier SAMIN (GK), 29. Mikael ROCHE (GK)
Coach: Sebastian LABAYEN (TAH)
Team Wellington vs. AS Magenta
Auckland, New Zealand
Wednesday 20 April, 2016
Kick-off: 3.30 pm
Referee: Kader ZITOUNI (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Tevita MAKASINI (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mahit CHILIA (VAN)
Fourth Official: Averii JACQUES (TAH)
The players: Captain Bill Roberston has big-game credentials with a commanding performance against Hekari United. The 31-year old defender has been impressive marshalling his troops from the back in their opening two matches. And he underlined his importance to Team Wellington’s title hopes by scoring two first half goals in the Group B decider.
The vital statistics: Matt Calcott’s men were rather wasteful in their opening two matches scoring only four goals despite producing 24 shots on target. However, they significantly improved their accuracy against Hekari to convert four of their nine shots on target.
Coach Quote: “I do see it as an even match up. I think both teams will take a positive approach into the game and will be looking to get on the front foot. I think it will be a good entertaining game.”
Squad list: 1. Scott BASALAJ (GK), 2. Taylor HOUGH, 3. Steven GULLEY, 4. Anthony HOBBS, 5. Bill ROBERTSON, 6. Chris BALE, 7. Leo VILLA, 8. Cole PEVERLEY, 9. Tom JACKSON, 10. Luis CORRALES, 11. Mario BARCIA, 12. Andy BEVIN, 13. Alex FENERIDIS, 14. William SCOTT, 15. Mark JONES, 16. Ben HARRIS, 17. Fergus NEIL, 18. Saul HALPIN, 19. Conor McGLINCHEY, 20. Michael GWYTHER, 21. Taylor SCHRIJVERS, 22. Alex CARR, 23. Michael O’KEEFFE (GK)
Coach: Matt CALCOTT (NZL)
The players: Defender Georges Bearune showed his all-round abilities by scoring a hat-trick against Tefana. Pierre Wajoka has also been impressive leading his team and pulling the strings from the midfield.
The vital statistics: Magenta’s attacking prowess can be underlined by the 58 goal attempts the team amassed in their three group games. However, Alain Mozain’s men must watch their discipline after giving away the most fouls of the four remaining teams averaging more than 15 per game.
Coach Quote: “We watched their matches very carefully and both Team Wellington and Auckland City are quality sides. They just confirmed to us the high level of football in New Zealand.”
Squad list: 1. Jelen IXOEE (GK), 2. Jean-Christ WAJOKA, 3. Georges BEARUNE, 4. Loic WAKANUMUNE, 5. Jean Brice WADRIAKO, 6. Cedric SANSOT, 7. Noel KAUDRE, 8. Marius BAKO, 9. Marek AUCHER, 10. Pierre WAJOKA, 11. Mickael TIAOU, 12. Joel WAKANAMUNE, 13. Patrick DIAKE, 14. Kevin NEMIA, 15. Pierrot JELEWED, 16. Leopold MAKALU, 17. Gregory TARAMOIN, 18. Joris GORENDIAWE, 19. Jeremy DOKUNENGO, 20. Bill NICHOLLS, 21. Noarii FORTEZ, 29. Leon IXOEE (GK), 30. Victor MESSEAUD (GK)
Coach: Alain MOIZAN (FRA)
This release is available at www.oceaniafootball.com
Source: OFC MEDIA