13 Mar 2017

Sport: Marist, Tefana make winning start in OFC Champions League

1:41 pm on 13 March 2017

Marist and Tefana made emphatic starts to their OFC Champions League campaigns after respective 4-2 victories over Rewa and Erakor Golden Star in Group D action from Papeete.

Rewa's cause wasn't helped when defender Peniame Drova was sent off after picking up two yellow cards in the space of four minutes, the second resulting in a penalty kick, duly converted by two-goal hero Guilherme Guedes.

Diego Maximo was also shown red in the 80th minute after dropping an arm into the face of Guedes, leaving Rewa with just nine players to see out the final ten minutes.

Rewa were reduced to nine men against Marist FC.

Rewa were reduced to nine men against Marist FC. Photo: OFC via Massimo Colombini

Marist coach Juliano Schmeling was pleased to see Marist etch their name in the history books, with their first win in the OFC Champions League.

"I'm very happy for the club, Marist, and also for the Solomon Islands population," he said.

"We've made a good first step in the competition against a very strong team who created a lot of trouble for us, but I'm happy as the final result came in our favour."

Rewa coach Marika Rodu lamented his side's ill discipline.

"I think letting in that goal in the second or third minute meant it was always going to be hard for us to catch up," he said.

"I think the boys fought back well to score the equaliser but in the end discipline really cost us."

In the late kick-off, debutantes Erakor Golden Star from Vanuatu took a surprise lead against hosts AS Tefana when a low shot at goal from Tony Kaltack slipped under Tahiti national goalkeeper Mikael Roche in the 19th minute.

A rash tackle from Erakor captain Brian Kaltack on Alvin Tehau enabled Tefana to equalise from the penalty spot, with Temarii Tinorua's 28th strike leaving the two sides locked at 1-1 at half-time.

Sylvain Graglia put the hosts in front 11 minutes into the second spell before a second caution for Brian Kaltack reduced Erakor to ten men.

Cards were also prevalent between Tefana and Erakor.

Cards were also prevalent between Tefana and Erakor. Photo: OFC via Massimo Colombini

Viritua Tiaiho and Stanley Atani extended the buffer to three goals before Tony Kaltack added a consolation for the Vanuatu club five minutes into time added on.

Tefana coach Sébastien Labayen was thrilled to claim the three points in what he deemed a very important encounter.

"As previously mentioned, this is a tough pool and it's important to being this competition in the best possible manner," he said.

"With only four teams in the group today's match was like playing a round of 16 and we head to the round of eight followed by the quarter-final in the last group match as we build up to the semi-finals.

"I'm satisfied with the team as a whole, they played well and both mentally and physically we were ready for this match."

AS Tefana made a winning start on home soil.

AS Tefana made a winning start on home soil. Photo: OFC via Massimo Colombini

Erakor's Etienne Mermer was keeping optimistic.

"Following the equaliser we started to lower our intensity, we started to relax we just can't do that at this level," he said.

"We started well but some of the players didn't pull their weight so we had to make some changes, and always in the same position.

"Now this match is in the past for us and everything could change in our favour in the second game."