Solomon Football > News > OFC U-20 Championship New Zealand 2011 > Mamulas open with win against New Caledonia

Mamulas open with win against New Caledonia

In a physical encounter that threatened to boil over on several occasions, it was New Caledonia who drew first blood, getting the scoring underway in just the sixth minute through Pascal Kenon.
The midfielder found himself one-on-one with Solomon Islands goalkeeper Silas Seda and did not spurn the chance to put his country ahead, patiently drawing the custodian out before sliding the ball past him and just inside the far post.
But the lead wasn’t to last long and the Mamulas found themselves back on level terms by the 28th minute. New Caledonia captain Patrick Qaeze brought down midfielder Toata Tigi in the box and referee Peter O’Leary had not hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Star Solomon striker Dennis Ifunaoa stepped up to dispatch it and his side received a further boost just before half-time when New Caledonia midfielder Jean Claude Jewine was sent from the field for a second bookable offence.
Striker Tutizama Tanito almost made the Solomons’ numerical advantage count seconds before the half-time whistle when he latched onto a long ball and tried to lob it over William Devic but the goalkeeper got a palm to the effort and was able to gather comfortably.
It was always going to be hard for New Caledonia to keep their oppenents quiet in the second spell with only ten men and that task got even harder in the 68th minute when their numbers were reduced further to nine.
Robert Dokunengo was adjduged to have comitted a foul in the box and the blow of his sending off was made worse by the successful penalty attempt, taken again by Ifunaoa for his second of the day.
New Caledonia now had an awful lot of work to do to get back into the game – an encounter that could prove crucial in the three-team Group B – and the challenge looked beyond them by the 72nd minute when Solomons midfielder Himson Teleda jinked his way through a couple of challenges on the left-hand side of the box and slotted a low shot across Devic to make it 3-1 and kill the game off as a contest.
The winning margin could have been even higher if the Mamulas had made the most of being awarded yet another penalty in the final minute. Tanito stepped up to try to make amends for his earlier miss but again failed to find the net as Devic pulled off a fine save low to his right.
But the custodian was ruled to have illegally advanced forward as the penalty was being taken and the Solomons were given a second chance to convert it.
Substitute Steven Saru was given the responsibility this time but he likewise wasted the opportunity, scuffing his shot wide of Devic’s right-hand upright.
Solomon Islands coach Noel Wagapu was pleased with the victory and relieved to make it through the 90 minutes with the full complement of players.
“The boys played well today and we are happy to get our first three points on the board,” he says.
“Each member of the starting eleven played according to plan and I think the midfield, Augustine Samani and Leonard Rokoto, drove the team on. It would have been better if there were no fouls but that sort of thing can always happen in a game,” Wagapu says.
“We had further opportunities to score but didn’t put them away because New Caledonia defended well and the goalkeeper was in good form. If they had a full team they would have had more chances to score themselves so it would have been a lot harder.”
Story courtesy www.oceaniafootball.com

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