Hienghène and SC Ne Drehu kicked off the OFC Champions League 2022 at Stade Yoshida last Saturday – 4th June – for the first OFC Champions League national qualifier. The winner of the two-legged clash is going to represent New Caledonia in the final round of the 2022 OFC Champions League.
The first scoring opportunity came from Jordan Wetria, who after Mone Wamowe’s cross got ahead of Rocky Nyikeine and headed the ball over the goal. In the 22nd minute Jordan Wetria was brought down by Jean-Luc Decoire in the penalty box and the referee awarded a penalty kick to Ne Drehu. Mone Wamowe hit it firmly in the middle of the goal and opened the scoring line.
Hienghène started chasing SC Ne Drehu’s advantage but without getting any great chances in the first half except for a shot from Joseph Athale that goalkeeper Nicodem Hmaen hit back and in the rebound striker Antone Roine sent it over the bar.
In the second half both SC Ne Drehu and Hienghène looked for the goal with both teams having good opportunities. In the 71st minute, a perfect free-kick from Mone Wamowe was headed in by Emile Hace, who scored SC Ne Drehu’s second goal with 20 minutes remaining.
With 20 minutes left in the match Hienghène were in a dramatic situation taking a two-goal deficit into the second leg. But a late reaction began in the 86th minute when Miguel Kayara advanced down the right wing and was fouled near the penalty area. Brice Dahite’s cross was met by Emile Béaruné, who scored for Hienghène with 3 minutes remaining.
Hienghène continued to press SC Ne Drehu for the equalizer in the final minutes, again in a move by Miguel Kayara on the right wing he crossed and the ball fell to Brice Dahite who suffered a foul inside the box almost in the last play of the game – Joseph Athale from the penalty spot scored the goal to make the match tied for the second leg.
Hienghène, who had already got a great result, started pressing SC Ne Drehu at the Stade Numa-Daly and opened the scoring through New Caledonian football legend Bertrand Kaï in the 22nd minute after he received the ball in the box following a header from Brice Dahite – he received it, turned it around, and hit a low shot into the goalkeeper’s left corner without any chance of defense for Nicodem Hmaen.
SC Ne Drehu’s responded rapidly; in the 25th minute Nathanael Hmaen scored a beautiful goal from a free kick to tie the match. Both teams created chances to score a second goal, but the match finished tied at the halftime.
In the 48th minute Antone Roine was yellow-carded after the referee alleged simulation in the penalty box. In the 54th minute he saw red after a foul on Renzo Wejieme letting his side with only 10-men.
With an extra player SC Ne Drehu began to have more space and create more chances in the match, Nathanael Hmaen came face to face with Jacques Nyikeine but he was stopped by the Hienghène goalkeeper.
Already at the stoppage time, when the match seemed to be going into extra time, Miguel Kayara made a beautiful cross for Bertrand Kaï to head it home and score Hienghène’s winning goal.
The defending champions Hienghène now join Auckland City of New Zealand and Nikao Sokattak FC of the Cook Islands in the final round of the OFC Champions League 2022. The remaining spots for the final round of the regional competition are still to be determined.