For the second match running Solomon Islands S-League runners-up Marist FC have been held to a 1-1 draw at the OFC Champions League.
In the late match both Marist and Magenta were expecting improved performances with Marist after their first win, and Magenta hoping to continue their winning run.
That meant fans were in for a treat with some fast-paced back-and-forth football to keep them entertained from very early on.
Marist defender made a couple of daring runs forward against Team Wellington, but had been apprehensive about advancing too far given the opponents ability to counter-attack. While he remained reserved in his approach, when the opportunity to push forward for a corner came up he took it.
The decision paid off as his height advantage allowed him to get above the defence and nail a header past Magenta goalkeeper Mickael Ulile in the fifth minute.
Magenta hit back six minutes later when Joseph Athale nailed a volley from the top of the penalty area for the equaliser.
Despite numerous chances for both teams the deadlock couldn’t be broken forcing the two to take a share of the points.
For both coaches it was a frustrating outing.
“We started well, we scored early and I though we would be good but we gave it away and they scored,” Marist’s Jerry Allen said.
Marist also had to play the final 15 minutes of the match with just ten men after losing Abraham Iniga to a second yellow card in the 75th minute.
Although Marist came together to fill in the gaps, it made the final period of the match difficult for those players on the pitch as they had much more ground to cover.
They did well, with midfielders Henry Fa’arodo and Jeffery Bule putting in good shifts despite concern over their inclusion ahead of the match, but the focus had to be adjusted to conserve the draw by not conceding, rather than chasing the win.
“It was really tough for us today but we still have a chance in our final game,” Allen finished.
It was a similar feeling for Alain Moizan who would have liked to take the full complement home from Lawson Tama today.
“We have the impression that we’ve lost two points,” he said.
“Overall it was a close match and probably with better control from us we could have won. It’s football, you need to be effectual in front of the goal and once again today, we weren’t.”
Friday is the final day for Group D with Team Wellington playing AS Magenta in the opening match at 1pm. Lupe Ole Soaga will meet Marist in the last game of the group at 4pm.