Veitongo or Tupapa: which side will qualify for OCL Group Stage?

The final match of the OFC Champions League preliminary stage is set to take place today (31th Jan) at Ngahue Reserve in Auckland. The Cook Islands side Tupapa Maraerenga only needs one point to qualify for the next stage, as they hold Lupe o le Soaga to a 0-0 draw in their debut in the competition. The Tonga representative side Veitongo will need a win at any costs to proceed in the competition if they want to turn into the first Tongan side to compete in the modern format of the OFC Champions League group stage. Veitongo suffered a 2-0 defeat against the Samoan side Lupe o le Soaga in the first game of the competition and win is all what they need against Tupapa. The Samoan is already qualified for the next stage as they got four points in the table with a draw and a win.

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Harlem Simiona (white) of Tupapa were not able to surpass Zane Green (purple) of Lupe – OFC Media

Tupapa is the favourite for the encounter; the club counts with the experience of players as the Chilean midfielder André Estay, the Cook Islands international Grover Harmon, Harlem Simiona and Ishaq Nazeem. The Cook Islands champions never failled to proceed to the group stage through the preliminary matches in the modern era of the OFC Champions League. Tupapa Maraerenga did not impress in their first match against Lupe o le Soaga – some players felt hard to play in the turf of Ngahue Reserve – and they will be surely looking for a better performance to seal their spot in the group stage.

The Tongans come for the tournament without many of their important players as the Tongan international defender Sione Tui’fangaloka. Veitongo played a very good second half, but were unable to find the back of the net – losing even a penalty when Vai Lutu was stopped by the experienced Zane Green.

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Hemaloto Polovili is the dangerman of Veitongo – OFC Media

Veitongo will look to defend well couting with the likes of Opesi Tui’fangaloka and Sione Uhatahi and hoping with good combinatios with the talented and always dangerous Hemaloto Polovili and the pacy Pita Uhatahi upfront. The goalkeeper Sinilau Taufa was a standout for Veitongo in their debut against Lupe o le Soaga, avoiding many goal opportunities from the Samoan champions.

The match will be streamed by Oceania Football Confederation in the MyCujoo platform. The match is set to kick-off at 4pm NZT.


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