Vanuafoot > News > 2011 O League > Amicale all but book place in final

Amicale all but book place in final

The vital victory pulls coach William Malas and his side three points clear at the top of Group A and, unless the final round throws up a freak set of results, they can now start packing their bags to take part in the two-legged, home-and-away final. Lautoka can still catch the leaders on points if they win their last match and Amicale lose but the Port Vila-based side’s vastly superior goal difference would still carry them through.
In the other matches played so far this weekend, Koloale’s recent revival continued with a 2-1 win over Hekari United – a defeat which leaves the defending champions at the bottom of Group A – while Magenta earned bragging rights over French territory counterparts Tefana with a memorable 3-0 away win. The result lifts them above Waitakere United, who face Auckland City tomorrow in a local derby of huge significance, and keeps alive their chances of snatching first place in Group B from under the noses of the Kiwi sides.
But the day belonged to Amicale, who are now almost certain to go on and become only the second Vanuatu team to qualify for the final of an OFC club-based competition. They are following in the footsteps of Tafea, who stunned New Zealand’s Napier City Rovers 4-2 in the semi-final of the 2001 OFC Club Championship in Papua New Guinea before eventually falling to Australia’s Wollongong Wolves 1-0 in the final.
They got off to the perfect start in their quest to emulate Tafea when local hero Fenedy Masauvakalo latched onto a Jack Wetney pass to put the home side ahead in just the seventh minute and send the 7,000-plus fans who had crammed into PVL Stadium crazy.
But their joy turned to despair in the 24th minute when defender Young Paul was shown a red card for a rash challenge on Valerio Nawatu. The visitors must have thought they now had every chance of getting back into the game quickly but the numerical disadvantage appeared to have little effect on Amicale and they scored a further three goals before the break.
Alick Maemae and Jack Wetney got their names on the scoresheet before Masauvakalo notched his second in first-half injury time.
Lautoka provided more resistance in an even second spell and found the net themselves when Gibson Daudau handled in the box, allowing Alvin Avinesh to smash home from the penalty spot. But they would also end the match a man short after Krishna Samy received his marching orders with five minutes remaining.
Masauvakalo then stepped up in the final moments to complete his hat-trick and round off a miserable day for the Fijians, whose O-League campaign had looked so promising in the early stages but is now in danger of ending in ignominious fashion after 6-1 and 5-1 losses in their last two matches.
The afternoon was far more special for hat-trick hero Masauvakalo, who had added motivation to do well after the death of his brother, former Amicale captain Ken Masauvakalo.
“I would like to dedicate the three goals to my late brother Ken and the fans who came out in huge numbers today to get behind us,” he says. “I know Ken is with me every time I play and that is why the number 11 shirt is important to me – it means me and him.”
Lautoka coach Gurjit Singh felt his players had put in plenty of effort but admitted they were beaten by a better team.
“We had to leave some of our best players behind and that makes it hard for me to choose who will play,” he says. “But today the boys played their hearts out and we can only congratulate Amicale for the great football they displayed. I wish them all the best in their remaining match against Koloale.”
Joining Masauvakalo in winning a place in the hearts of his club’s fans was Magenta’s Georges Gope-Fenepej, whose late double ensured the New Caledonians would leave Tahiti with all three points on Friday evening local time.
In a physical and fiercely-fought encounter – just what you’d expect from a Tahiti-New Caledonia clash – it was Magenta who drew first blood, Gope-Fenepej beating his marker on the left and firing in a low cross for Cesar Lolohea to finish off from close range mid-way through the first half.
To the relief of the home fans in Papeete, Tefana lifted their game in the second half and were just looking likely to get back in it when Gope-Fenepej popped up to turn the match on its head with goals in the 78th and 81st minutes. There was never going to be any Tefana comeback from then on and they now have just pride to play for when they meet group leaders Auckland City in their final fixture.
Also out of the running are Koloale and Hekari, whose clash in Honiara counted for little after news of Amicale’s big win came through.
Koloale will still have been pleased to build on their previous 6-1 win over Lautoka though, and have at least now restored some pride to a campaign that looked like being one to forget early on.
Mostyn Beui scored twice – once in the middle of each half – to put coach Peter Eke’s side 2-0 up before Hekari threatened to mount a comeback when Tuimasi Manuca found the net with just over 10 minutes remaining. But Hekari could not repeat their last-gasp heroics of the previous round – when they scored twice within the last few kicks of the game to earn a 3-3 draw with Amicale – and will now have to wait until next year to attempt a return to the FIFA Club World Cup.
Attention will be focused solely on Group B tomorrow when Auckland host Waitakere at Kiwitea St in an encounter the latter must win to hang onto their hopes of progressing.
2011 O-League Match Day Five Results
Tefana: 0
Magenta: 3 (Cesar LOLOHEA 22′, Georges GOPE-FENEPEJ 78′, 81′)
Half-time: 0-1
Friday 25 February
Stade Louis Ganivet
Papeete, Tahiti
Amicale: 5 (Fenedy MASAUVAKALO 7′, 45’+ 2′, 89′, Alick MAEMAE 29′, Jack WETNEY 33′)
Lautoka: 1 (Alvin AVINESH [PEN] 68′)
Half-time: 4-0
Saturday 26 February
PVL Stadium
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Koloale: 2 (Mostyn BEUI 28′, 66′)
Hekari United: 1 (Tuimasi MANUCA 79′)
Half-time: 1-0
Saturday 26 February
Lawson Tama Stadium
Honiara, Solomon Islands
Upcoming match:
Auckland City vs. Waitakere United
Sunday 27 February
Auckland, New Zealand
Kiwitea St
Local kick-off: 3pm

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