Marist and Erakor Golden Star are keen for results to go their way. Image: OFC via Massimo Colombini

With two victories and the six points that came with them, home side AS Tefana are looking good to qualify for their second OFC Champions League semi-final in a row.

However with a match against rising Solomon Islands powerhouse Marist in their final Group D match, the race to claim that berth in the semi-finals alongside Team Wellington and AS Magenta is far from over.

For his part, Marist coach Juliano Schmeling believes if his side can pick themselves up following their loss to Erakor Golden Star, then anything could happen on the day.

“It’s definitely not easy with the way we lost our second match, but Friday will be a big day because at least three teams are still in the running.”

Schmeling believes the overall performances from Marist thus far have been what he wanted, with the exception of several lapses which resulted in goals for their opponents.

“In the last few minutes of the match another mistake from us and it ended 2-1,” he says of their second game against the Vanuatu side.

“In a competition like this every mistake you make can cost you three points.”

AS Tefana showed their might on Tuesday night with a resolute performance against Rewa and even in the final ten minutes with a man down, they remained the stronger looking side.

“Ironically we played better with 10 players than 11,” coach Sébastien Labayan said.

“I know the players are capable of performing even better than we have so far. I still think this pool is one of the most equal of the four and each of the teams has it’s strengths – Marist is no different.”

Keeping their on-field structure has been at the base of Tefana’s success so far although the loss of work-horse Heimano Bourebare will be keenly felt through the centre.

But with qualification in sight there is no doubt his teammates have the drive to step up in his absence to ensure he can continue on the journey with them in the semi-final.

In the earlier match Rewa, still chasing their first points in Tahiti, will take on Erakor Golden Star, a side high on their late victory over Marist.

Rewa coach Marika Rodu said for first-timers in the OFC Champions League his side has done a reasonable job.

“This is the first time we have been exposed to his level of competition,” he explains.

“I think playing three top teams in our pool gives our boys different opportunities and a different view of what football is so we will be going hard in the last game.

“For us now, we’re focusing less on the results but on improving our performances with every match.”

After their win over Marist, the belief in the Erakor Golden Star camp has swelled with the players confidence returning.

Although a long shot for qualification, they are keen to continue to represent their country and village with pride so a win in their final match is definitely the objective.

“We’re looking forward to the last game against Rewa,” coach Etienne Mermer said.

“We have a chance – not much – but it depends on the result between Marist and Tefana as well. And even then, Marist has a much better chance than Erakor Golden Star.”

Captain Brian Kaltack will return to the fold to bolster the ranks for the team’s final match, after serving his suspension, but they will be without his cousin Michell who accumulated two yellow cards in the first two matches.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.