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Swamy: Work On Defence

Lautoka made a good start in their Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League Group C clash with a 3-1 win over Madang FC of Papua New Guinea yesterday. It was
26 Feb 2018 11:00
Swamy: Work On Defence
Lautoka football team pose for a group shot before their Champions League opener against Madang FC at Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand on February 25, 2018. Photo: OFC Media

Lautoka made a good start in their Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Champions League Group C clash with a 3-1 win over Madang FC of Papua New Guinea yesterday.

It was the start Blues coach Kamal Swamy was hoping for at the Trusts Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.

Lautoka’s overseas-based players scored three goals for the side as they aim to become the first Fijian side to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup later in the year.

In the match, Lautoka’s three goals were scored by wily Sol­omon Islands Benjamin Totori in the 21st minute followed by in the 32nd minute when Cory Chettleburgh of New Zea­land extended their lead to 2-0.

Madang cut the deficit five minutes before the halftime break when Papalau Awele put goalkeeper Beniamino Mateinaqara under pressure and Maskulan Pulung was on hand to collect the spilled ball and tap into an empty goal­mouth.

In the second half, Vanuatu international Brian Kaltack restored the two-goal cushion for Lautoka with an excellent curling free-kick in the 77th minute to round up the victory that could yet be a crucial step towards making the quarter­finals for the Blues.

Lautoka are on second position in Group C points stand­ings after Auckland City’s 7-0 thumping of AS Venus.

Kamal Swamy said it’s a good start for the side.

“It’s a positive start for us as we got the three points,” Swa­my told OFC Media after the match.

“Unfortunately, the other team had a few players missing so we had an advantage, but I think we need to improve a lot if we want to progress in this competition.

“Defensively we need to improve – where we set up our lines and the commitment of the players. That will help us in the next game.”

Auckland City are the team to beat after their impressive form in the opening match and their fixture with Lautoka should be a cracker jack.

The OFC Champions League resumes on Tuesday in Honi­ara with Team Wellington facing Lupe Ole Soaga and Marist squaring off against AS Magenta.

Group C’s next matches in Auckland on Wednesday sees AS Venus playing Lautoka FC while Auckland City FC taking on Madang FC.

MARIST HOLD WELLINGTON

Other interesting results in Group D saw Marist FC of Sol­omon Islands held Team Wellington of New Zealand to a 1-1 draw at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara on Saturday. The hosts were backed by their 12,000 fans.

In other games AS Magenta of New Caledonia opened their OFC Champions League with a 2-0 victory over qualifier runners-up Lupe Ole Soaga of Samoa.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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