28 Feb 2018

Sport: OFC Champs league quarters spot up for grabs

12:24 pm on 28 February 2018

Fiji's Lautoka FC play Tahiti's AS Venus this afternoon in what looks to be an early battle for quarterfinal spots in the OFC Champions League football competition.

AS Venus's Mauarii Tehina in action

AS Venus's Mauarii Tehina in action Photo: OFC/ phototek / David Joseph

The match-up will probably decide who will make the quarterfinals, with the AS Venus coach Sam Garcia telling OFC TV that it is the most important match of the competition.

"We'll take it without pressure, we'll be very serious - the boys are good, we've worked really hard," Garcia said.

He said all will be revealed on the field.

AS Venus lost their opener to Auckland City but Garcia is not discouraged.

"Lautoka and Auckland City are two completely different matches," he said.

"Auckland City are based on possession, Lautoka play more counter attack and are quite similar to the general style of Fijian football."

Garcia claimed this will suit the Tahitian side.

Lautoka coach Kamal Swamy said not too much can be read into the AS Venus loss to Auckland City as they didn't play their strongest side in that game.

"I think it will be a tough one," Swamy said.

"The reason being Venus has played against Auckland and I think all the players did not play in the first game so I think they had their plans to go for the next two games.

"They will be tough against us," he said.

Papua New Guinea's Madang FC are under no illusions how tough their task will be against Auckland City in their match this afternoon.

The club were runners up in PNG's competition but their preparations were under a financial cloud before a late burst of fund-raising got them to the tournament.

Madang lost their first game 3-1 to Fiji's Lautoka and now take on the defending champions with a short-handed squad.

Their coach Mauri Wasi said the match will be tough.

"It's always going to be hard playing against Auckland City," he said.

"They are a well-established club with good coaches, with a good set-up, so it's going to be a very, very tough challenge for us but it is one we are going to look forward to."

Team Wellington in goal-scoring mood

Team Wellington got their campaign back on track with a 7-1 victory over Samoa's Lupe Ole Soaga at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara on Tuesday afternoon.

Team Wellington's Taylor Schrijvers under pressure from the Lupe Ole Soaga defence

Team Wellington's Taylor Schrijvers under pressure from the Lupe Ole Soaga defence Photo: OFC/ phototek /Shane Wenzlick

In their first match the group favourites had drawn 1-1 with Marist FC of Solomon Islands.

Wellington had struggled to find their composure in their opening fixture but had no such trouble on against Lupe Ole Soaga, Taylor Schrijvers scoring the opening goal within the two minutes of kick-off.

It set the tone for New Zealand team as the side's Guernsey FC recruit Ross Allen found his form to net a hat-trick within 68 minutes.

Coach Jose Figuiera was happy with the improvement shown from their first game.

"You know I was really delighted with the way the boys went about it

"Scoring seven and controlling game is one thing doing that at home and then doing it over here in near 40 degrees is spectacular from the players so I am very proud," Figuiera said.

Meanwhile hosts Marist were once again held to a 1-1 draw, this time by New Caledonia's AS Magenta.