There was no room for surprises: AS Magenta tops the group C of OFC Champions League while Solomon Warriors proceeds to the knock-out stage in the 2nd place of the group. The New Caledonians sealed their spot in the quarterfinals with two first half goals coming from defensive mistakes of Solomon Warriors. AS Magenta also guaranteed to right to host one of the four matches of quaterfinals – having the home advantage in the one-legged decisive match.
The Solomon Islanders had more possession of the ball in the starting minutes of the clash, but could not create any real goalscoring chance – something that would stand for the rest of the entire game. In the 15th minute of play, one terrible defensive mistake of communication between Haddis Aengari and John Alick allowed Fonzy Ranchain to strike in force to the left side of the goal of Timothy Maerasia to break the deadlock and put Magenta upfront.
Solomon Warriors continued to have more the ball, but they still could not connect the attackers upfront to create goalscoring opportunities. Magenta was always dangerous in attack – Solomon Warriors defense seemed not well protected. In one of this attacks, the ball was crossed to the area Shene Welepane could not strike, the ball was offered to Nathanael Hmaen that made no mistake and netted the second goal of the home side in the encounter.
Lency Norman was the most effective forward for Solomon Warriors in the first 45 minutes of play, creating some trouble to the New Caledonian defense due his speed, but in his solo plays he could connect properly with his attack teammates.
The 2-0 advatange of AS Magenta in the first half would be the final score of the game. Despite having their best opportunities in the second half, Solomon Warriors did not manage to create any real danger to the home team. Solomon Warriors had the biggest share of possession of the ball during the entire game, but his midfield players could not find their forwards in good areas of the pitch to create opportunities.
Solomon Warriors best chances came in dead balls: the first in a corner, a powerful header of John Alick was saved by the goalkeeper Nicodem Hmaen and cleared for a corner before it passed the goal line by AS Magenta defense. In the final minutes of the clash, Alick crossed to the area, the ball was deflected and Molis Jr Gagame finished it over the bar. Despite the efforts of Warriors, Magenta was the closest side to score in the final 45 minutes of the game: Jean-Brice Wadriako and Kevin Nemia forced Timothy Maerasia to two hard stops – if the goalkeeper was not there to save the Solomon Islands side, both plays would end up in goals for the home side.
Magenta played a safe game, capitalizing in the early mistakes of Solomon Warriors and winning most of the balls in the midfield. The New Caledonians are still to impress in their two matches, but they played good enough to surpass their two opponents playing a very smart game. Magenta proved to have a very strong defensive system against Solomon Warriors – their strong protection to their last line of players proved to be effect, not allowing spaces for Warriors attackers.
The Solomon Islanders will need to study on their two matches and learn from their mistakes specially in defense. The team also lacked creativity and their attacking plays seemed to obvious for the opposition defense – there was a poor connection defense to midfield and midfield to attack, specially in this final match against the New Caledonians of AS Magenta. If the Solomon Islands’ champions want to have a long life at OFC Champions League this season, they will need to display a better football in the quarterfinals.