Shocks abound in O-League

A raft of stunning results marked the re-commencement of the OFC O-League for 2011 with two-time champions Waitakere beaten, holders Hekari United held and Group A leaders Lautoka routed at home.

New Zealand big guns Waitakere United suffered a potentially fatal 3-1 defeat against AS Tefana in humid conditions in Papeete. First-half goals from Lorenzo Tehau and Alvin Tehau set the home side on their way with Allan Pearce pulling one back just prior to the interval from the penalty spot. The visitors had the better of the second half but Axel Williams ended any hopes of a comeback with a late sealer.

The result has revitalised the Tahitians hopes and they sit one point off both Waitakere and Auckland City, with the latter having a match in hand after their visit to New Caledonia’s AS Magenta was postponed.

In the other group, the hopes of reigning champs Hekari United hang in the balance after a drama-charged 3-3 draw against Vanuatu’s Amicale. Down 3-1 with just three minutes remaining the Papua New Guineans, who just two months ago represented Oceania in the FIFA Club World Cup, salvaged a share of the points thanks to an injury-time equaliser from Malakai Tiwa with virtually the last kick of the match. Hekari had trailed 2-0 just after the interval at the PVL Stadium in Vanuatu, with the visitors' prolific Fijian striker Osea Vakatalesau hitting a double.

Arguably the most remarkable result came in Fiji where group leaders Lautoka succumbed 6-1 at home against the previously winless Solomon Islanders Koloale. The Fijians took the lead early on through Valerio Nawatu only to then unravel when goalkeeper Jone Sorolo received his marching orders at the 14 minute mark for a foul, allowing Jeffery Bule to equalise from the spot. Ezra Sale and George Suri also got on the scoresheet while Solomon Islands star Benjamin Totori secured a hat-trick.

With two rounds remaining Amicale sit narrowly clear of Lautoka on goal difference on seven points, with Hekari on five and Koloale a further two points adrift. Hekari will likely have to win both their remaining matches to have any chance of clinging onto their title, with the Vanuatuans perhaps the best placed although their upcoming home match against Lautoka could decide the group victor.