Tight contests abound in O-League
Auckland City concluded their OFC O-League commitments prior to departing for the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009 with a 1-1 draw away to Waitakere United to retain a two-point margin at the top of Group A. Chad Coombes opened the scoring for the reigning continental champions on the half-hour mark, with former All Whites striker Brent Fisher replying for Waitakere three minutes prior to the interval.
There was an identical scoreline in the other group match as AS Manu Ura picked up their first points of the campaign at home to New Caledonian champions AS Magenta. Philippe Kokono scored just after the interval, with Tahiti international Billy Mataitai equalising for the home side midway through the second half. After three rounds Auckland are on seven points, Waitakere on five, with AS Magenta and AS Manu Ura trailing with two points and one point respectively.
In Group B, Vanuatu’s Tafea have scored a potentially decisive win at Fijian champions Lautoka to leapfrog into top spot. An early goal from Jean Nako Naprapol and a second-half effort from fellow Vanuatu international Francois Sakama sealed the victory for the visiting team after Valerio Nawatu had equalised during first-half injury-time.
The final match of the round between Group B's Hekari United and Solomon Islanders’ Marist will be played next Saturday in Port Moresby with both teams desperate for a win to stay in touch with the leaders before the 2010 O-League takes a break until February.