In a thrilling and decisive matchday of Group B in the Freshwater Stadium, Port Vila, AS Pirae emerged victorious over Hekari United with a hard-fought 2-1 win. The Tahitian side only needed a draw to secure their place in the semifinals, but they displayed their determination by securing the three points against the Papua New Guinea representatives and former winners of the OFC Champions League.
Right from the beginning, the match showcased intense action and scoring opportunities for both teams. Hekari’s talented midfielder, Yagi Yasasa, made an early impact by hitting the crossbar with a powerful free-kick. The first half continued to provide moments of excitement as both sides fought for control of the game.
Unfortunately for Hekari, their goalkeeper Dave Tomare had to be substituted after a collision with Pirae’s wingback, Etienne Tave, in the final minutes of the first half. However, before the halftime whistle, Tave managed to capitalize on a beautiful cross from the left and headed the ball into the net, beating the substitute goalkeeper Russel Chris. This goal gave AS Pirae the lead heading into the break.
The second half began with Hekari showing resilience and quickly finding an equalizer. Tevaitini Teumere from AS Pirae brought down Ati Kepo inside the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick awarded to Hekari. The veteran captain, Daniel Joe, stepped up to the spot and calmly converted the penalty, leveling the match.
However, AS Pirae responded brilliantly just ten minutes later. A fantastic play by Sandro Tau set up Yohann Tihoni, who found himself in a prime position inside the box. Tihoni made no mistake and placed the ball into the back of the net, restoring AS Pirae’s lead.
With their tournament hopes on the line, Hekari pushed forward desperately in search of another goal. However, it was AS Pirae who came closest to scoring again. Ariiura Labaste and Heimano Bourebare both struck the post, denying them the opportunity to extend their lead.
When the final whistle blew, AS Pirae emerged victorious with a well-deserved 2-1 win, confirming their place in the semifinals as the winners of Group B. Unfortunately for Hekari, this defeat meant their elimination from the competition.
AS Pirae will now take on Fijian side Suva in one semifinal hoping to achieve a positive result and reach the final game. New Zealand’s powerhouse Auckland City will wait the results from Tiga Sport vs Ifira Black Bird to know his opponent in the other semifinal match.
One thought on “O-League: AS Pirae sends Hekari United home with hard-fought win at Freshwater Stadium”
AS Pirae went to the Club World Cup before. Not surprised with this result. Would love to see Hekari learn and grow, get tougher, and be the victorious team next time.