> News > 2015 Fiji Airways OFc Champions League > Revenge for Hekari, winning start for Wellington

Revenge for Hekari, winning start for Wellington

A year ago Hekari United were well beaten by the Vanuatu domestic champions 3-1, and coach Jerry Allen was adamant he wouldn’t be letting the same thing happen today.#“I think this game was very important for us. Last year they beat us in Ba, we came here with the mind-set that we must win today,” Allen says.#“I’m very happy with the result because what we needed, most importantly, is the three points and the boys managed to do it today.”#Hekari burst out of the blocks from the outset as Papua New Guinea U-23 striker Tommy Semmy cut the ball across the face of the goal for a waiting Dennis Ifuanoa to smash past Tafea keeper Seloni Iaruel.#The early goal set the tone for an exciting match as Tafea searched for an equaliser, while Hekari looked to get more a more comfortable lead under their belts.#After exchanging shots over an eight minute period, it was Hekari who proved to have the required lethal touch as Semmy raced into the penalty area to smash his shot past a diving Iaruel for his side’s second.#Tafea were forced to make an early sub, replacing defender Jaycen Botleng with Michell Kaltak, and the change appeared to pay off as the pressure went on Hekari’s Fijian goalkeeper Benaminio Mateinaqara.#As Dennis Ifuanoa, Bong Kalo and captain Robert Tasso continued to pepper the Hekari penalty area with crosses, it was Mateinaqara’s impressive command of his are his box that continually denied their efforts.#Former Hekari striker Jean Kaltack came on at half-time for Tafea, and it proved a decisive decision for Tafea coach Moise Poida, but not before Hekari could add another goal to their haul. This time it was an unselfish pass from Joachim Waroi for Alick Maemae to finish at the back post in the 54th minute.#Sitting three goals behind, it was at this point that Tafea kicked into high gear, with more shots raining in on goal, before substitute Jean Kaltack hit a curler around a diving Mateinaqara.#His second was a long time coming, buy finally in the 90th minute Kaltack powered his shot past the keeper in the 90th minute.#For Tafea coach Moise Poida, Hekari’s opening goal was the most surprising part of the match.#“It was a surprise to concede in the first minute. I don’t understand – it’s not what we prepared for but it’s the game. We left it late to come back, too late to come back, but that’s the game,” Poida says.#“There were positives, yes. But now the pressure is on us for the rest of the tournament but we’ll take the matches one by one. We’ll be back for the next game.”#In the late match, New Zealand’s second representatives in this competition, Team Wellington, couldn’t have asked for a better debut than a 2-1 victory over 2012 runners-up AS Tefana.#It was an even affair from the outset, although Tefana enjoyed a slightly larger percentage of possession. Playing a lot of longer passes, with the intention of dropping the ball in behind the Team Wellington defence and using their attacker speed to their advantage, Tefana came close to scoring on several occasions but seemed to lack the required finishing to get a shot on target.#Taking the first 20 or so minutes to settle into their new surroundings, Team Wellington was soon creating chances of their own, with Solomon Islander Henry Fa’arodo using his skills to cause havoc.#After winning possession in the 36th minute, Team Wellington directed their attentions to the Tefana goal as Costa Rican Luis Corrales found a way past goalkeeper Stevens Hiriga to claim the first goal – and first on-target shot – of the game.#The goal seemed to inject a sense of comfort into the side from New Zealand’s capital, with the pressure on Tefana’s goal increasing with every attack. However after conceding a free kick in what appeared to be a comfortable distance from danger, Team Wellington found themselves back on equal ground.#The free kick effort was lofted long into the penalty area, and when Wellington’s keeper Michael O’Keeffe thought he’d punched it clear from danger, it actually looped backwards into his own net.#A disappointing goal to concede with just a minute until the break, it meant the two teams were locked at 1-1 when they returned for the second period. The second half got a bit rougher, with some heavy challenges resulting in cautions for both sides – with Ian Hogg seemingly lucky not to face heavier punishment for a challenge which left Sylvain Graglia in a writhing heap.#Poor communication proved the downfall for Tefana as substitute Jarrod Smith took advantage of some slow decision making to poke the ball past Hiriga to return the lead to his side.#Despite some inspired attacks, pulling themselves back in line for a second time proved too hard a task for this Tefana side and allowing Team Wellington to breathe easy, with the full three points claimed.#“The boys fought really well and they finished strongly as well so all the things we’ve been working on over the last couple of days have been put into plan tonight and it was a very pleasing start, a difficult start, but a very pleasing one,” Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott says.#“Obviously we conceded a pretty soft goal and let them back in it, but from our side I thought we pressed a lot better in the second half, we had our chances which was great, and then we dropped off and killed the game quite well and that was good to see.”#An evidently disappointed Sebastian Labayen felt his side missed some key opportunities but was happy with the performance as a whole, as they clearly dominated some period.#“Was this a difficult match? Yes and no, because we spent a large part of the match in control of the ball,” he says.#“There were times when I thought our opponents were right on the borderline in terms of some of the force of some of their challenges, but overall it was a high level match with the intensity that goes with that,” he says.#OFC Media#

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