Samoa victorious in local derby
Speaking from the Group A venue in American Samoa, he remarked: "I am naturally pleased with the win especially for the boys and the country. We needed that after the previous results."
"American Samoa battled hard and was tough, but in the end our better technical ability won over on the day. It was pleasing to score from two set pieces," he added.
Samoa collects the much needed three points to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon and American Samoa is left without a win in the tournament. To American Samoa's credit, they have a deserved point from a drawn game in the first round to Cook Islands and have played beyond expectation in this tournament, holding their own in all of their matches. They can still overtake Samoa if they win their final match this weekend against Fiji, but that would be a tough ask.
The battle of the two Samoas was seen as a grudge match between the two bottom placed sides but there was also pride at stake. American Samoa felt perhaps they had a chance of victory playing at home, going on Samoa's disappointing form in the previous matches.
But Brand's charges were able to make a super start scoring three goals in the first half which effectively killed off any hopes of an upset. Suki Fuimaono was causing all sorts of problems for American Samoa on attack. Pio Manila got the first goal after 10 minutes and James Slater scored the crucial second goal seven minutes before half-time.
In the second half, Samoa took their foot of the accelerator as American Samoa exerted more pressure on defence forcing Samoa into errors and bad passes that has plagued them throughout the tournament. American Samoa was rewarded with their first goal of the tournament when Ramin Ott capitalised in the 50' minute. However, another top performer for Samoa, Kennedy Faalavaau, put the result beyond doubt with his 62 minute strike to give Samoa a handy 3-1 lead heading into the final stretch.
Commenting on Samoa's chances against group leaders New Caledonia, Brand said: "Team and individual discipline remains a problem but there is no quick fix. This area needs to improve if we are to beat them, but we know a victory is within our capability."
Last Modified on 23/02/2003 10:51