Vanuafoot > News > OFC President's Cup 2014 > Oceania duo start on right note

Oceania duo start on right note

New Zealand and Oceania club champions Auckland City shared the honour of playing the first ever President’s Cup game with the Singapore U-23 team and took full advantage of their time in the spotlight, completely dominating proceedings to win 4-0
Vanuatu’s Amicale did not find things quite as comfortable in their clash against the Fiji U-20s but were just as well-deserving of their 3-0 win, using their experience and class to good effect against the youngsters.
In the earlier game, the Singaporeans were always likely to find the going tough against a match-hardened Auckland but did not do themselves any favours in the 20th minute when Ali Hudzaifi was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card, both for rash challenges on Ryan De Vries.
They were already one goal down by that point, City’s Spanish defender Angel Berlanga writing himself into the record books by firing home the first ever President’s Cup goal from 12 yards.
Auckland had enjoyed the majority of possession from the opening whistle and were in even more control after the sending off, stroking the ball around freely as Singapore had little choice other than to get their remaining numbers behind the ball and defend deeply.
The ten men did well to restrict Auckland’s goalscoring chances and it looked like they would go into the break only one goal down but Dae Wook Kim was having none of that, finding the net via a deflection as halftime drew near.
Those two first-half goals meant the second spell became a formality for Auckland and goalkeeper Tamati Williams did not have a save to make in the blustery conditions. It took some time to break Singapore down, however, Auckland having to wait until the 71st minute to extend their lead when Mario Bilen headed home a Sam Burfoot free kick.
It was four just a couple of minutes later, Andrew Milne neatly finishing off a move he had started to wrap up Auckland’s win in style.
“They had a very young team out there but we had to do the job and completed that by playing good football,” coach Ramon Tribulietx said.
“We had good ideas and got four good goals so we have to be happy with that. The conditions made it difficult to play so we didn’t rush anything and kept the ball on the ground – it would have been silly to play long balls with that wind.”
Despite the heavy nature of the loss, Singapore counterpart Subramani Shummugham was pleased to have taken part as he feels the experience will serve his young charges well.
“These were very testing conditions to play in, especially with ten men,” he said.
“I think the boys did quite well and I am sure they will have learned a lot. It’s been a good experience for the boys. Based on that, I’m sure we’ll be able to do much better in the next game.”
The opening day’s second game was far more fiercely contested, the Fijian youngsters making Amicale work hard for their three-goal success.
The city of Auckland has a large Fijian population and they turned out in good numbers to cheer their U-20 side on but were silenced in the 29th minute, Adrian Ucchino tucking home a cutback from the impressive Panagiotis Nikas to give Amicale the lead.
The Fijian contingent were even less impressed ten minutes later when Amicale made it two, Italian defender Michele Grazia heading in a Nikas corner to put the Vanuatu side well in control.
Fiji were then left with a steep hill to climb in the second period but the break seemed to do them good, Ravinesh Kumar’s team emerging with a renewed sense of purpose and putting plenty of pressure on the Amicale defence.
But that rearguard held firm and when another goal arrived it was Amicale’s again, Nikas notching the day’s most impressive individual strike with five minutes remaining. The Australian jinked his way past a couple of challenges and found the net with a powerful shot to sign off on a pleasing evening for Amicale coach Jean Robert Yelou.
“The Fiji U-20 team have seen some very good progression so I’m happy with my boys,” he said.
“We have come here to respect every team but we are ready to take on anything we come across.”
Kumar felt the occasion was more than worthwhile for his team and that the players will have taken much on board.
“We got some very good experience of playing against a wonderful side,” he said.
“Amicale have some very good players and it was a good opportunity for our boys to play against them. We are preparing for a World Cup so it’s good for us to play as many good sides as we can.”
The inaugural OFC President’s Cup continues at The Trusts Arena on Wednesday 19 November with Bodden Town from the Cayman Islands taking on Singapore U-23 at 5pm and Amicale meeting Bahrain’s Busaiteen from 7.30pm.
Story by Oceania Football – for more information go to www.oceaniafootball.com

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