After losing their Group B openers, both Fiji and Vanuatu are hoping to get their 2016 OFC Nations Cup campaigns back on track.
Meanwhile tournament favourites New Zealand and the Solomon Island will go into their second group games knowing that a win could seal their spot in the semifinals.
Vanuatu, who went down 1-0 to the Solomon Islands in their opening match, will face New Zealand to open Tuesday’s action at Port Moresby’s Sir John Guise Stadium.
Vanutau coach Moise Poida couldn’t hide his disappointment following his side’s defeat to their Melanesian rivals.
His players looked comfortable on the ball and created a number of promising opportunities but they lacked cutting edge in the final third.
Poida knows that it will not get any easier against the All Whites, but he believes his side is more than capable of causing an upset.
“We know New Zealand is a better team, they have players from overseas and they have a good game strategy. But I saw their game against Fiji and I think the way they played in that match was not the New Zealand we were thinking of, so I think we can do something.”
All Whites coach Anthony Hudson revealed his relief following his side’s comfortable but scrappy 3-1 win against Fiji.
Admitting that the All Whites weren’t at their best he was still happy with his players' determination to get a result.
The All Whites coach handed debuts to four players - defenders Luke Adams and Kip Colvey, as well as midfielders Monty Patterson and Luka Prelevic against Fiji.
Against Vanutau he will have the option to make some changes to the starting eleven by calling on some of the late arrivals, including Kosta Barbarouses, Marco Rojas, Jeremy Brockie and Michael Boxall.
New Zealand will again go into the match against Vanuatu as clear favourites but Hudson insists his side won’t be taking anything for granted.
“These teams are very dangerous and we saw that last year in the islands. They've got some players that can hurt any team.”
In the day’s other match Fiji can’t afford to lose to the Solomon Islands if they want to keep their Nations Cup dream alive.
They will be hoping for another strong performance from captain Roy Krishna who was a constant threat against New Zealand.
The Wellington Phoenix striker has demonstrated his worth by scoring Fiji’s only goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Fiji were at times their own worst enemy in their opening match as both first half goals scored by New Zealand came as a result of defensive mix-ups.
Assistant coach Kamal Swamy is expecting another tough outing against the Solomons, but he insists the players are well aware what is at stake.
“The Solomons will be very difficult opponents, they play a possession game and they hold the ball well. The key to the match will be the midfield, we need to win the ball in those areas. We talked with the boys about the importance of this game, we need to be confident and we must win otherwise our tournament is over.”
The Solomon Islands will be high on confidence, following their victory over Vanuatu in their campaign opener.
Moses Toata’s men showed plenty of resilience to withstand some early pressure from Vanuatu, before edging past their Melanesian rivals 1-0.
However they will need to improve if they want to be crowned OFC Nations Cup champions.
Toata says his side will approach every game on its merit, and together with the team’s technical advisor Ramon Tribulietx, they will make the necessary adjustments.
And he is confident they will come up with a winning formula against Fiji.
“I know against Fiji it will be hard but we will come up with an even better plan to beat them. We approach this game as the most important in the group stages, we feel if we win this game we can qualify for the semis. The confidence and spirit is very high in the group, we are not taking this match lightly but we back ourselves to win.”
The OFC would like to acknowledge its partners Telikom PNG, iRENA, and its supporters Dream Inn, Tru Tru Wara and NCDC – The City of Port Moresby.
Vanuatu vs. New Zealand
Sir John Guise Stadium
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Tuesday 31 May, 2016
Referee: Amos ANIO (PNG)
Assistant Referee 1: Norman BAFINU (PNG)
Assistant Referee 2: John PAREANGA (COK)
Fourth Official: Norbert HAUATA (TAH)
The players: Striker Kensi Tangis looked the most likely to get on the scoresheet against the Solomons. Using his physical strength and mobility, Tangis was a constant threat up front. Captain Fenedy Masauvakalo and midfielder Bong Kalo have also offered attacking options, particularly from set pieces.
The vital statistics: Despite having less possession than the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu had five more goal attempts than their Melanesian rivals. They also had two more shots on target and forced five more corners than the Solomons. Moise Poida will be hoping his players can be more clinical in the front of goal against the All Whites.
Coach Quote:“Our final touch in the final third was a big problem for us against the Solomons. But it's ok we accept it, we still have another two games to go.”
Squad list: 1. Seloni IARUEL (GK), 2. Brian KALTACK, 3. Kevin SHEM, 4. Jason THOMAS, 5. Jacques WANEMUT, 6. Ignace YAMACK, 7. Samuel KALOROS, 8. Remy KALSARAP, 9. Bill NICHOLLS, 10. Dominique FRED, 11. Raoul COULON, 12. Zicka MANUHI, 13. Nemani ROQARA, 14. Bong KALO, 15. Daniel NATOU, 16. Tony KALTACK 17. Jean KALTACK, 18. Fenedy MASAUVAKALO, 19. Kensi TANGIS, 20. Chikau MANSALE (GK), 21. Kaloran FIRIAM (GK), 22. Jacky RUBEN, 23. Don MANSALE
Coach:Moise POIDA (VAN)
The players: Two senior strikers, Rory Fallon and Chris Wood both found the back of the net in New Zealand's win over Fiji. The two veterans have a proven record and they are effective players and leaders on the pitch. The All Whites could be strengthened by senior players Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas, who weren't selected for the match having arrived late into camp.
The vital statistics: The All Whites were forced to share the possession evenly with Fiji in their opening match. Going forward they produced seven shots on target for their three goals, which seems like a decent conversion rate. However Anthony Hudson will be hoping for more clear cut chances to test Vanuatu’s defence.”
Coach Quote: "When you come to these competitions, the conditions are tough to play in. You're never going to come here and have it all your own way.”
Squad list: 1. Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), 2. Kip COLVEY, 3. Mat RIDENTON, I 4, Themistoklis TZIMOPOULOS, 5. Michael BOXALL, 6. Bill TUILOMA, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Michael McGLINCHEY, 9. Chris WOOD, 10. Luka PRELEVIC, 11. Marco ROJAS, 12. Max CROCOMBE (GK), 13. Monty PATTERSON, 14. Rory FALLON, 15. Jeremy BROCKIE, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Luke ADAMAS, 18. Sam BROTHERTON, 19. Thomas DOYLE, 20. Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, 21. Logan ROGERSON, 22, Moses DYER, 23. Tamati WILLIAMS (GK)
Coach: Anthony HUDSON (ENG)
Solomon Islands vs. Fiji
Sir John Guise Stadium
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Tuesday 31 May, 2016
Referee: Kader ZITOUNI (TAH)
Assistant Referee 1: Tevita MAKASINI (TGA)
Assistant Referee 2: Folio MOEAKI (TGA)
Fourth Official: Médéric LACOUR (NCL)
The players: Experienced attacking pair Benjamin Totori and captain Henry Fa’arodo have both played a major role in their side’s opening win. When their team was under pressure, their leadership qualities and presence helped to calm the nerves of some of the younger players.
The vital statistics: Despite shading the possession against Vanuatu, the Solomons have only produced two shots on target, one of which has found the back of the net. They will be hoping to create more opportunities in front of goal against Fiji.
Coach Quote: “Fiji are a great rival and it will be hard against them. They are a young side with plenty of quality players like Roy Krishna of course, but we won’t be focusing on individual players. Our main concern is ourselves and what we have to do."
Squad list:1. Phillip MANGO (GK), 2. Haddis AENGARI, 3. Bata FURAI, 4. Fred FAKARI, 5. Freddie KINI, 6. Allen PETER, 7. Dennis IFUNAOA, 8. Paul WALE, 9. Benjamin TOTORI, 10. Judd MOLEA, 11. Micah LEA’ALAFA, 12. Samson KOTI (GK), 13. James NAKA, 14. Moffat KILIFA, 15. Jerry DONGA, 16. Gagame FENI, 17. Nelson SALE, 18. Henry FA'ARODO, 19. Gibson DAUDAU, 20. Charlie OTAINAO, 22. Joses NAWO, 23. James DO’ORO (GK)
Coach: Moses TOATA (SOL)
The players: Captain Roy Krishna will again hold the key to Fiji’s fortunes, but he will need more support from the likes of Setareki Hughes and Iosefo Verevou up front.
The vital statistics: Despite an even share of possession against New Zealand, the Fijians rarely threatened in the final third and only managed four shots on target. The midfield and the forward line will need to establish a better link in order to increase their attacking potential.
Coach quote: “It was a disappointing result against New Zealand and we need to bounce back quickly. We need to lift our game but we believe that we can still qualify for the semis.”
Squad list: 1. Simione TAMANISAU (GK), 2,Avinesh SUWAMY, 3 Remueru TEKIATE, 4. Jale DREOLA, 5. Rusiate MATAREREGA, 6. Nickel CHAND, 7. Pita BOLATOGA, 8. Setareki HUGHES, 9. Roy KRISHNA, 10. Iosefo VEREVOU, 11. Ilimotama JESE, 12. Tevita WARANAIVALU, 13. Ilisoni TUINAWAIVUVU, 14. Kolinio SIVOKI, 15. Samuela NABENIA, 16. Malakai TIWA, 17. Taione KEREVANUA, 18. Laisenia RAURA, 19. Amani MAKOE, 20. Shaneel NAIDU (GK), 21. Alvin SINGH, 22. Benaminio MATEINAGARA (GK) 23. Samuela KAUTOGA