Group B: Match 1 - Tonga defeats Am Samoa 3-0

AUCKLAND: Tonga was favoured to beat island rivals American Samoa in their first up match of the OFC Men's Olympic Qualifiers, but though they did win comfortably in the end by 3-0, they were far from convincing.

Tongan coach Milan Jankovic would have been seething at the poor finishing from his charges, particularly a gift penalty which his normally reliable striker Unaloto Feao botched by sending it wide of the right post.

Tonga dominated possession for the most of the first half and was the more adventurous of the teams on attack. But despite constantly being able to breach the American Samoa defence, they were unable to put away their opportunities.

American Samoa's entertaining captain and goalkeeper, Nicky Salapu, was impressive defusing many Tongan shots on goal with his acrobatic dives, one of them a superb example of his athleticism thwarting Feao's rocket from close-range in the 36th minute.

Indeed, the half ended in what would have been an ironic twist as American Samoa came close to scoring from one of their few chances when Terrence Sinapati breached the Tongan defence on the right flank before crossing to an unmarked team-mate whose glancing shot was saved by the Tongan custodian, much to the relief of the his team-mates.

Both teams went into the break with the score at nil all belying the many scoring chances on offer.

The second half saw much of the same as the American Samoans continued to hold out as the Tongans looked to make the breakthrough.

It was always going to be a matter of time though and in 54th minute after some neat interchange of passes from the forwards, Kamaliele Papani threaded a delightful through ball to the flying Mark Uhutahi on his right whose shot deflected off the outstretched hand of Salapu into the right bottom corner of the net for Tonga's first goal. Uhutahi was surprisingly subbed immediately after the goal.

Tonga finished the job with a similar goal in the 70th minute to Papani with Feao the provider this time.

A late goal in stoppage time to Feao from a pin-point Filisione Taufahema cross finished the scoring for Tonga who caught the tiring American Samoans napping inside the box.
Duane Atuelevao seemed to be the only threat for American Samoa on attack.

The robust Atuelevao threatened the Tongan goal several times in the second half but he lacked the support.

Match 1: American Samoa vs Tonga / Statistical Review
Full-time score: 0-3 (Tonga)
Half-time score: 0-0

Date/Time: Wednesday, 14 January - 5:00pm (NZT)

Scorers: Tonga - (7) Mark Uhutai 54'; (8) Kamaliele Papani 70'; (9) Unaloto Feao 92+

Cautions: none
Expulsions: none

Weather: fine, warm, light rain for brief periods
Crowd attendance: 260

Match Officials:
Referee: Gidas Bayung (PNG)
Assistant Referee 1: Hillary Ani (PNG)
Assistant Referee 2: Benjamin Wilson (Australia)
Fourth Official: Intaz Shah (Fiji)

Match Commissioner: Madiu Andrew (PNG)
Referee Inspector: Ken Wallace (New Zealand)

Team Line-ups (& Substitutes)

1. Nicky Vitolio SALAPU (GK) (c)
2. Levaula FATU
4. Terrence Leo SINAPATI
6. Ovite Ace LEPOU
8. Viliamu VAOFANUA
9. Duane Faaou ATUELEVAO
10. Ben Falaniko SAGAIGA (-59')
11. Elvis Simon SEUMANU (-35')
17. Ramin Shahin OTT
5. Reno Montana AMISONE
12. Andrew Soosemea TINAE (+59')
13. Maika Kenneth MOLESI (+35')
14. Alexander VICTOR
15. Ito TELESA
16. Fa'amanu SIUTA

Coach: Pacifico Abadia

1. Kavakava MANUMUA (GK)
3. Ipeni FONUA
4. Sitenilesili MAFI (c)
5. Petelo VAIHU
6. Maamalua TEVI
7. Mark UHATAHI (-54')
8. Kamaliele PAPANI
9. Unaloto Ki-Atenoa FEAO
10. Filisione TAUFAHEMA
13. Makatuu MOEAKI (-46')
11. Lafaele MOALA (+46') (-63')
12. Solomone MOA (+63')
14. Penisimani PAU
15. Lisiate KOANETI
16. Lenitua-O-Lakepa MAFI (+54')
17. Folio MOEAKI
18. Ika Takaimoana VAVE
20. Frederick SAAFI

Coach: Milan Jankovic


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