It’s do-or-die for Solomon Warriors and New Caledonia’s AS Lossi who each need points to keep alive their hopes of claiming one of the two play-off places on offer.
Recovery from Sunday takes on even more importance having played some their respective matches on a rain-soaked Stade Pater pitch with just ten men.
But with their quarterfinal hopes in the balance there is still much work to be done on the pitch before the do-or-die clash.
Moses Toata says it wasn’t difficult the main work-on after missing multiple chances to take the lead against Erakor.
“Our first thoughts on how quickly we can recover. Hopefully we have time to work on our finishing which was clearly lacking from the first match,” Toata said.
“We did well in the match I thought. We actually created a lot of chances. I don’t know what happened to the boys but you can’t afford to miss those in this competition. Football is about scoring goals. If you can’t score then it’s something else. If we can put away our chances, we’ll be okay.”
And with just two games left to secure enough points, Toata echoed the same confidence as his counterparts in the group that his team would get the job done.
“I’m definitely sure we’re going to go through. We’re preparing for Wednesday’s game and Saturday’s game but focussing mostly on Lossi of course.”
Lossi claimed an unwanted moral victory in their first match sticking with an commitment to attack even when a player short and despite the 4-0 reverse, coach Victor Wejieme said picking his players back up, at least mentally, will not be an issue.
“Wednesday will be a different game, I have confidence in my players and, from what I could feel when we had dinner all together after the match, they have regained confidence too. They’re now focusing on recovering: resting well, eating well and getting the treatments they need.”
“So far, Dragon and Erakor both have one victory, but all is not lost for us, we can still qualify for the quarters,” Wejieme said.
“We’ll take the two matches one at the time and we’ll do our best to ensure the team is ready for each one of them and we’ll count the points at the end.
“I don’t know yet if we’ll change our game system or not but I have confidence in my players. There’s just some fatigue due to the fact that we were reduced to 10 men during most of the match yesterday. If we had played the whole match 11 vs 11, I think the situation will be different than what it is today.”
Solomon Warriors and AS Lossi get match day two day underway at 3pm local time (12pm Thursday NCL/SOL/VAN) with Erakor Golden Star and AS Dragon kicking off three hours later at 6pm local time.
Solomon Warriors [SOL] vs. AS Lossi [NCL]
Wednesday 14 February
Kick-off: 15h00 (local)
(12h00 NCL/SOL/VAN Thursday 15 Feb)
Referee: Sione LELENGA (TGA)
Assistant Referee 1: Sione TEU (TGA).
Assistant Referee 2: Glen LOCHRIE (NZL)
Fourth Official: Campbell-Kirk WAUGH (NZL)
Vital Statistics: Warriors have now lost their opening group stage match in each of their four OFC Champions League campaigns. In each of the three previous campaigns they bounced back to claim a draw in their next match.
The Players: John Alick was in impressive form in midfield for the Honiara side, radiating calm on the ball and never appearing rushed in picking out his options. He was also instrumental in breaking down Erakor attacks until his side went a man down.
Coach Quote: “I think Lossi had more of an edge with ten men [against AS Dragon]. It gave them motivation to fight and get themselves in the game. But eventually it was too much and we saw those goals go in.”
Team List: 1. Joseph KOMU (GK), 2. Haddis AENGARI, 3. Allen PETER, 4. Jason THOMAS, 5. Fred FAKARI, 6. Molea TIGI, 8. John ALICK, 9. Jerry DONGA, 10. Judd MOLEA, 11. Ian PAIA, 12. Albert WITNEY, 14. Augustine SAMANI, 16. Emmanuel POILA, 17. Gibson DAUDAU, 22. Bata FURAI, 23. Gagame FENI, 24. Kensi TANGIS.
Suspended: 28. Abraham BIRD (GK).
Coach: Moses TOATA (SOL)
Vital Statistics: Lossi played 70 minutes with ten men of their match against AS Dragon but were arguably the better team for the first 25 of those until half-time.
The Players: Pierre Kouma played a captain’s knock against Dragon in the heart of Lossi’s defence, stifling a number of the Tahitians’ attacking forays. His workload was substantial as the red card for left back Warren Saiko left him covering almost two positions as Lossi elected to retain their attacking shape further up-field.
Coach Quote: “After the match, in the changing room, I congratulated my players for the way they played in the first half and some of the second half too. I encouraged them, all the staff encouraged them too. We haven’t lost yet, there are still two matches to be played and now it all comes down to those two matches.”
Team List: 1. Nicodem HMAEN (GK), 2. Jules KAUMA, 3. Jonathan KAKOU, 4. Jean Paul READ, 5. Pierre KAUMA (c), 7. Damien WANAPOPO, 8. Morgan MATHELON, 9. Raoul WENISSO, 10. Mone WAMOWE, 12. Clarence NYIPIE, 14. Robert WAOUKA, 15. Paul OZIKA, 17. Henri WAIMA, 19. Amy HNAGEJE, 21. Ben-Drela HMAEN, 29. Emmanuel WEJIEME (GK), 30. Patrick NYIKEINE (GK).
Suspended: 13. Warren SAIKO
Coach: Victor WEJIEME (NCL)