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First Day Brings Fierce Competition

The Solomon Islands made their intentions at the 2016 OFC Futsal Championship clear with an early goal setting the tone for their 3-0 victory over Tahiti. Meanwhile New Caledonia and
10 Feb 2016 08:10
First Day Brings Fierce Competition

The Solomon Islands made their intentions at the 2016 OFC Futsal Championship clear with an early goal setting the tone for their 3-0 victory over Tahiti.

Meanwhile New Caledonia and New Zealand got off to slightly slower starts, but were equally as deadly in front of goal to earn 5-1 and 5-0 margins over Fiji and Vanuatu in their respective opening matches at the Vodafone Arena in Suva.

It came alive  as a long awaited rematch of 2011’s final got underway between the four-time champions the Kurukuru and twice runners-up Tahiti.

Solomon Islands coach Juliano Schmeling says a first up win is great, and proving some of the naysayers wrong was an added benefit of the hard-won victory.

“It was a lot harder than I expected. I was expecting Tahiti to be strong but I think they’ve improved a lot since I saw them last in 2014,” Schmeling said.

Tahiti coach Jacob Tutavae believed his side had a good chance of taking the three points themselves, so is certainly disappointed to be walking away with nothing.

“It’s very disappointing because we wanted to win this game. The plan, the tactics were in place but the small errors we made resulted in the goals we conceded,” he says.

The day’s middle match was an exciting encounter between Vanuatu and New Zealand – much different from what the 10-4 margin of their previous meeting suggested.

Vanuatu started to show cracks in the second stanza, which is exactly what New Zealand’s Scott Gilligan was hoping for.

“We talked about Vanuatu and their counter attack. We saw it in New Zealand and knew it was going to happen. I think in the last few minutes of the first half we started to get on top but just couldn’t get the ball in,” he says.

“I wasn’t worried at half-time because I knew they’d start to get tired in the second half.”

Vanuatu coach Louis Dominique was disappointed his side couldn’t hold on, but understands it was always going to be difficult against the well-drilled Futsal Whites.

“It was an impressive first half, I was happy with that because we worked together. But the second half was not so good. The boys made a lot of mistakes and we were punished,” he says.



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