The group D of the OFC Champions League is back to Stade de Mahina in its second matchday. Ba from Fiji and Lupe o le Soaga from Samoa will play for their lives in the first match of the day as both sides suffered harsh defeats in their debuts against Auckland City and AS Vénus.
The Fijians are certainly the favourites to win the clash, but lots of questions are on their shoulders after the smashing 6-0 defeat against Auckland City with many problems in their squad – they will need to find their way back to the good football to beat Lupe o le Soaga. The Samoans know the hurdles they will have to overcome against Ba, but they are ready to grab an upset and keep their chances alive in the regional tournament.
The team coached by Paul Ualesi will expect a different match from what happened in their debut against AS Vénus where they were defeat by 6-0. Lupe will hope its captain Andrew Setefano can guide his defensive to a better performance to hold the powerful attack of Ba. The New Zealand goalkeeper Zane Green did not have a good match against the Tahitians, but he is still a big hope for Lupe to avoid a defeat against the current Fijian champions. Tom Mosquera and Jamie Mason are the offensive imports of Lupe in attack, that will hope to combine well with the Samoan international Vaa Taualai and Albert Bell upfront.
The Fijians probrably will see the debut of the Papua New Guinean international Alwin Komolong in the back, but their biggest hopes are in attack – especially with the Solomon Islands legend Benjamin Totori and the Fijian international Samuela Drudru.
Ba will also count with the impressive young talent from Vanuatu Micah Tommy, alongside the U23 Solomon Islands national team member Darold Kakasi. Team captain Saula Waqa is finally back to Ba after a long-term injury and will hope to combine well with his new teammates in attack to provide the dominant win Ba will need to keep their chances alive for the final matchday in the pool.
The match is decisive for both sides: the winner will keep their chances to proceed, while the loser will be knock-out of the tournament with still one match to be played. A draw will not be a good deal for any of the sides, despite it will keep their chances alive in the process, but depending a lot on their final matches against Auckland City and AS Vénus.