Group B: Match 4 - Vanuatu beats Tonga 6-0

AUCKLAND: Tonga proved worthy opponents despite going down 0-6 to Vanuatu at North Harbour Stadium last night.

The score-line clearly showed the superiority of Vanuatu, but it did not reflect the near parity in possession and the positive spirit in which the Tongans played the game, particularly on attack.

Vanuatu were rusty in their first up match of the Oceania Olympic Qualifiers and will need to lift their game up a notch if they are to live up to expectations as the dark horses of the tournament.
They were made to work hard for every goal and were clearly frustrated at the Tongan team's ability to disrupt their passing channels particularly in the middle of the park.

Vanuatu were more successful attacking down the flanks where their superior speed and technical prowess were evident, but they did not do this often enough and were content in engaging in a midfield battle with the game Tongans who surprised many with some impressive touches when they were in possession.

However, the Tongans were let down by stray passes and little mistakes as promising movements often broke down. It was there that the technically superior Vanuatu players capitalised scoring from counter attack situations that caught the Tongan defence napping.

Young Vanuatu striker Jean Maleb scored his first goal in the sixth minute on a counter attack after a Tongan player was dispossessed in midfield. Maleb was delivered the ball by fellow striker Lorry Thompsen just outside the box and with two Tongan defenders closing in, he quickly made room for himself and calmly shot the ball past the Tongan goalkeeper Kavakava Manumua.

Alphose Qorig added Vanuatu's second goal two minutes later and the match looked headed towards a blowout. But the Tongans regrouped and ably defended for the remainder of the half and were gaining confidence after coming close to threatening the Vanuatu defence on a couple of occasions. Unaloto Feao's 25 yard rocket nearly resulted in Tonga's first goal which would have had their small but vocal spectator support in raptures.

For Vanuatu, Fedy Vava and Jean Robert Yelou came close to scoring before the break. But the failure to finish off chances was clearly upsetting Coach Carlos Buzzetti who reacted by subbing off goalscorer Qorig in the 38th minute.

But there was relief as Maleb collected his second goal and Vanuatu's third, albeit fortuitously as Manumua was unable to keep out his header which deflected of him into the goal.

Vanuatu came out with renewed vigour in the second half but were again inaccurate with their finishing and continuously made mistakes in the face of the physical Tongans, who seemed determined to compete on even terms.

Sitinilesili Mafi, who had been at the heart of the Tongan defence, was at fault for Vanuatu's fourth goal after his foul on Maleb in the box which resulted in a penalty, successfully taken by substitute Rick Mahe.

Ten minutes later, Maleb celebrated his hat-trick with a well taken goal from a pinpoint cross. Tonga was unlucky not to score on at least two occasions in the second half. Mafi's shot was inches from target while Feao beat the goalkeeper but overran the ball and Vanuatu custodian John Presley Garae miraculously recovered the ball.

Vanuatu got their final goal in stoppage time as replacement Jean Christophe Massing's shot bounced off the post back down on to Manumua rolling back into the net in a cruel end for the Tongan keeper who otherwise was one of his team's best performers in a losing effort.

Match 4: Tonga vs Vanuatu / Statistical Review
Full-time score: 6-0 (Vanuatu)
Half-time score: 3-0 (Vanuatu)

Date/Time: Friday, 16 January - 7:30pm (NZT)

Scorers: Van - (11) Jean Maleb 6, 42', 75'; (17) Alphose Qorig 8'; (10) Rick Mahe 65' pen; og (1) Kavakava Manumua - gk 92'+

Cautions: none
Expulsions: none

Weather: overcast, mild
Crowd attendance: 250

Match Officials:
Referee: Simon Micallef (Australia)
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Wilson (Australia)
Assistant Referee 2: John Peacock (Australia)
Fourth Official: Constantinos Diomis (Australia)

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

Team Line-ups (& Substitutes)
1. Kavakava MANUMUA (GK)
3. Ipeni FONUA (-56')
4. Sitenilesili MAFI (c)
5. Petelo VAIHU
6. Maamalua TEVI (-79')
8. Kamaliele PAPANI
9. Unaloto Ki-Atenoa FEAO
13. Makatuu MOEAKI
14. Penisimani PAU (-45')
10. Filisione TAUFAHEMA
11. Lafaele MOALA
12. Solomone MOA
15. Lisiate KOANETI (+56')
16. Lenitua-O-Lakepa MAFI (+45')
17. Folio MOEAKI (+79')
18. Ika Takaimoana VAVE
20. Frederick SAAFI

Coach: Milan Jankovic

1. John Presley Garae (GK)
3. Manley Junior Tabe
4. Geoffrey Lego Gete
5. Dimitri Yakeula
7. Fedy Vava
11. Jean Maleb
13. Lorry Thompsen (-67')
15. Pita Maki
16. Daniel Alick (c)
17. Alphose Qorig (-38')
19. Jean Robert Yelou (-58')
2. Willy Dick
6. Tom Charlie
8. Ali Silas Silas
9. Jean Christophe Massing (+58')
10. Rick Mahe (+38)
12. Waren Waiwai (+67')
14. Isaac Kapi
18. Roger Joe
20. Charly Kalsanei

Coach: Juan Carlos Buzzetti


Comment Guidelines: The SportsTG Network is made up of players, families and passionate sports followers like you who have a strong opinion about sport. That's great - we want you to have your say and share your thoughts with the world. However, we have a few rules that you must follow to keep it fun for all. Please don't be rude, abusive, swear or vilify others. Apart from some pretty serious sport sanctions, we also can ban you and report you if things get out of hand. So play fair and have fun, and thanks for your contribution.