16 Feb 2018

Sport: AS Dragon close in on OFC Champs League quarters

2:17 pm on 16 February 2018

Tahiti's AS Dragon all but confirmed their spot in the OFC Champions League knockout rounds while Solomon Warriors surged back into contention with a big win in Group B action in Papeete.

Dragon beat Vanuatu's Erakor Golden Star 4-3 in dramatic fashion while the Warriors thrashed AS Lossi from New Caledonia 6-1.

Reynald Lemaitre's glancing header in the 11th minute opened the scoring for hosts Dragon but Erakor needed only four minutes to equalise from the penalty spot.

Erakor Golden Star are denied by the AS Dragon keeper.

Erakor Golden Star are denied by the AS Dragon keeper. Photo: Massimo Colombini - OFC

The Vanuatu club twice took the lead during the second half at Stade Pater and an 84th minute own-goal appeared to have secured all three points, despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men.

But Dragon skipper Tamatoa Tetauira levelled the scores from penalty spot in the first minute of stoppage time before tapping home the winner four minutes later to send the Papeete crowd into raptures.

"It's a win and it's a win less attractive than what we'd expect from our first eleven," said Tetauira after the match.

AS Dragon captain Tamatoa Tetauira celebrates scoring the match-winning goal.

AS Dragon captain Tamatoa Tetauira celebrates scoring the match-winning goal. Photo: Massimo Colombini - OFC

"We fought until the end and it paid off. You could say it was a victory of the mind because it was a very difficult first half, we survived."

Erakor coach Obed Jimmy promised his team will give themselves every chance a securing a quarter finals berth against AS Lossi in their remaining match.

"I thought we would win tonight but the red card, that surprised me," he said.

"We fought our best, but the red card reduced the morale of our team. We will win the last match."

In the earlier match Solomon Warriors thrashed AS Lossi from New Caledonia 6-1 to climb to second place.

Gagame Feni bagged a hat-trick while Kensi Tangis scored twice as the Melanesian club bounced back from an opening defeat.

Gagame Feni bagged a hat-trick for Solomon Warriors.

Gagame Feni bagged a hat-trick for Solomon Warriors. Photo: Massimo Colombini - OFC

Coach Moses Toata warned that his side must continue that vein of form if they are to beat Dragon at the weekend to ensure a place in the last eight of the competition.

"Obviously I'm very happy with the result" he said.

"My boys did very well today. We have to keep playing like this if we want to win. We have a very important match on Saturday (local time) and hopefully we will win.

Dragon have maximum points from two matches and can confirm top spot in Group B with a draw or better against Solomon Warriors, who are ahead of Erakor Golden Star on goal difference.

AS Lossi are yet to pick up a point but still have a faint chance of a top-two finish if results go their way.