The traditional Independence Cup had kicked-off in Vanuatu’s capital with important matches in the starting matchweek of the competition. Four matches were going to take place in Port Vila Municipal Stadium, but the contest between Mauwia and Yatel were postponed to a date that is still to be determinated. In the Friday, the powerhouse Galaxy FC kicked-off the tournament with an emphatic win over the good side of Sia-Raga. Octav Meltecoin opened the scoreline for Galaxy in the 5th minute of play and the Brazilian midfielder Roberson Felipe doubled the margin in the 20th minute. Still in the first half, Yvong Wilson added another for the team coached by Moise Poida. Sia-Raga still managed to pull one goal back after a penalty-kick – the goalkeeper Seiloni Iaruel defended the shot but in the rebound Iaruel had no chance to stop the finish from Juju Ala. The first 45 minutes of the match had all goals of the clash – Galaxy starts with a strong performance in their first official match after COVID-19 break.
Erakor Golden Star had a very hard clash against Ifira Black Bird. The team counted with the punctual addition of the star defender Jason Thomas in the match, as well the Malampa Revivors’ players Dondy Kileteir and Tasso Jeffery. Jean Kaltack returned to EGS and opened the score for his team, but it did not take long as Tonly Kalotang equalised for Ifira BB. Erakor took the lead once again through the effort of Junior Daniel, but in the second half Jean-Marie Manuriki created a great chance for Sam Kalter that leveled the game once again. The 2-2 result reflected the good quality of both sides in the pitch. The Ifira Black Bird star player Jonathan Spokeyjack expressed his feelings after match: “It was very challeging; a tough match. Many fans came to support and enjoy the game this Saturday,” stated the winger.
The final match of the day saw Tafea fight hard against a revamped side of Tupuji Imere. Alex Saniel added firepower to his former club Tupuji Imere; the same happened to Tafea that counted with the quality of Ba’s Micah Tommy in the clash. Both players are expected to return Fiji to represent Lautoka and Ba respectively as the Vodafone Premier League is set to restart in the next week.
Tupuji managed to take the lead in the first half through Mackenzie Malapa, but could not defend their goal in the second half: Evaristo Kapulu scored for Tafea in the first minutes of the second part of the match and the young Waiwo Kalmet scored the winning goal from the penalty spot for his team in the final stages of the clash, giving Tafea a hard fought victory in the final match of the day.
As the various Independence Cups that are played in Vanuatu traditionally in the month of July – 30th July, the day of Vanuatu’s independence is when normally the competitions have their final matches – are not recognised as official tournaments, clubs can add players to their squads for the competition as it happened to Tafea, Erakor and Tupuji. Galaxy took the first place of Group A as Erakor Golden Star and Ifira Black Bird only draw in the first matchweek – Tafea is the first placed side of the Group B after beating Tupuji Imere while the match of Yatel against Mauwia is still to be played.
See updated results and standings before the initial matches of the competition.
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