28 Jan 2016

Sport: Favourites start strongly at OFC Champions League Preliminary

12:45 pm on 28 January 2016

Kiwi FC and Tupapa Maraerenga have made impressive starts to the OFC Champions League Preliminary football tournament in Rarotonga.

Samoan champs Kiwi went behind in the eighth minute but recovered to thrash Utulei Youth FC from American Samoa 6-2.

Kiwi FC made a winning start at the OFC Champions League Preliminary.

Kiwi FC made a winning start at the OFC Champions League Preliminary. Photo: Oceania Football

Coach Martin Tamasese says it was most pleasing to see how they reacted to adversity at different points in the match.

"In the first half Utulei pushed us really hard but we came back in the second and were able to counter it. We did well to come back from an early goal down, that showed a bit of character which was good."

Cook Islands champions Tupapa piled on seven unanswered goals past Tonga's Veitongo FC.

Tupapa Maraerenga launch another attack.

Tupapa Maraerenga launch another attack. Photo: Oceania Football

Jared Colligan slotted two penalties in the seventh and twelfth minutes to get the hosts off to a flying start and ended the game with four goals.

Coach Delaney Yaqona says his players executed their game-plan perfectly.

"I was very happy with the patience that they exerted in the game. They held the ball, they waited for things to open up and went for it once it opened up. We really utilised out strengths on the field, which was very good for a first up game in a tournament. It isn't an easy thing to do, in a first up game, to do things really well. There are a few things to iron out before tomorrow's game but generally very happy with what happened yesterday."

Kiwi and Tupapa have won two of the past three Preliminary tournaments and go head to head tomorrow in a match that could decide this year's champion.

Veitongo FC and Utulei Youth FC clash in the other match on match-day two.

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