The first day of 2020 OFC Champions League goes on as Group B hosts Malampa Revivors faced Lautoka from Fiji. This match marked the debut of Liam Anderson, Jack Caunter and Jason Thomas for the Fijian side. The 2019 Vodafone Premier League runners-up started the match with three defenders while Thomas was placed as a defensive midfielder. Forward Dave Radrigai did not play this match because he was sent off in the last Lautoka’s game in 2019 OFC Champions League so he was suspended. Shazil Ali also missed this match but there are no reliable sources about the reason for his absence.
Malampa Revivors fielded a young but talented squad and they showed to Lautoka that they are not in OFC Champions League for distraction. Revivors showed convincing tactics with good ball possession and high pace for counter-attacks. Edwin Bai had an outstanding performance in the first half and his apix was the nice assist that he delieverd to Azariah Soromon score the first goal of the match in the seventeenth minute.
Lautoka started to have some defensive difficults after suffering the goal and the Revivors started to create more and more. However a penalty kick was awarded for the Bluez from Fiji when Tasso Jeffery fouled Alex Saniel inside the box and New Zealander defender Jack Caunter found the net to equalize. Things got even better for Lautoka when Revivors’ forward Andre Batick was sent off in the 34th minute after fouling Jason Thomas that needed medical treatment.
It was expected that Revivors would face big troubles in the second half by playing with just ten players. However thay kept their high level and managed to put pressure on Lautoka. A penalty kick was awarded to the Ni-Vanuatu side after Liam Anderson took Azariah Soromon down in the penalty area. Soromon had the opportunity to score his second goal in the match but he sent it away. He also had some other chances to find the net but he missed them. After the final whistle the scored was a 1-1 draw. You can check the goals in the video below:
Despite not scoring, Alex Saniel called the attention. His capacity of playing with his back to the defender helped Lautoka to reach the offensive field as he was always there to help his teammates by establishing pass lines.
The group B hosts deserved to win even playing with a player short and it must encourage them for the next match against Henderson Eels while Lautoka must think twice about their strategy before facing Lae City on Tuesday.
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