In the long-awaited match of the new season, the current PVFL champions Amical FC faced their predecessors of the championship title and long-time PVFL champions Tafea FC in the last Pool 1 match of the TVL Opening Cup 2010. Amical won with four goals to two but the score was not fully reflective of the match played. The match could have gone either way with Amical having to clear the ball off the goal line on several occasions.
The result sees Amical going through to the next tournament stage joining Tafea who have already booked their place after two wins. Amical were however on the back of a historic and disappointing loss to new-comers to the Premiere league Ifira Blackbird and were keen to make amends.
The showdown was perceived by many as the battle of the former and new giants of Vanuatu club football and despite the light showers of rain, a considerable amount of football fans turned out at the Port Vila Municipal stadium to watch. The slippery pitch provided for an interesting test of skill, strength and fitness.
Gifted attacking midfielder, Richard Garae was recalled to Amical's starting line-up partnering captain Fenedy Masauvakalo in strike whilst Tafea reinstated Geoffrey Gete in defense.
Both teams started with a cautious approach with careful passing and tight marking. Gete, Nanua and Freddy Vava stood resilient in defense keeping slippery Jack Whitney out of the box until Yelou crossed in a teasing ball. Tafea goalkeeper miss-timed his jump and his frantically outstretched fingertips pushed the ball away only to land at Witney's feet who laid off the ball to Garae whose straight shot hit the keeper's leg and ricocheted into the net to register the first goal of the game.
Tafea responded by applying pressure at the other end of the field with winger Noal drifting on more than one occasion into Amical's box but failing to find the back of the net. As Amical's Whitney and Derek Malas began to show dazzling footwork much to onlookers' delight, young Silas showed why he has been Robert Calvo's first choice Tafea midfielder as he began to run circles around the stars of Amical, eluding Stanley Waita and Whitney with ease. Tafea's pressure culminated with a play down the left wing delivering a pin-point cross into the Amical box finding Jean Naprapol who deftly headed the ball past the stunned keeper and into the corner of Amical's net. However, the goal was disallowed due to the linesman's ruling of offside.
The controversy of the offside rule was worsened when Tafea's defense appealed for offside at the other end of the field but linesman waved play on as Amical captain Masaufakalo blasted from close range unmarked to make two-nil.
Tafea continued to apply pressure as midfield talents Daniel and Silas gradually controlled the tempo supplying great through balls to lone striker Naprapol and swift winger Noal but could not break through the vise-like defense of Richard Anisua and Nelson Sale who were impressively calm in holding back the Tafea onslaught.
A momentary shift of ball possession saw Amical advancing into the Tafea territory and without a warning, defensive midfielder Waita stunned the stadium into applause with a long range strike to extend Amical's lead to three-nil.
Undeterred, Tafea continued to maintain ball possession and field position and were camped in Amical's territory for long spells. Tafea realised that Amical's defense was impenetrable in open play and opted for dead-ball plays. Free-kick specialist Daniel began to use his accurate ball deliveries from corner-kicks to trouble the Amical defense as corner-play after corner-play resulted in desperate defending from Amical with several goal-line clearances. Tafea repeated the attack tactic until one of Daniel's corner balls found Gete who turned defender into instinctive striker, trapping the ball on his chest and with only a bounce of the ball, blasted his unstoppable shot to put Tafea on the score sheet.
Tafea restarted the second half as determined and as dangerous as ever from corner-kick plays when another pinpoint delivery from Daniel found Noal's head just beyond the second post, scoring to close the goal margin to a one-goal difference.
Adrenalized, Tafea continued to push forward but could not find a good strike as Amical responded with dangerous counterattacks that saw both Masauvakalo and Garae almost finding the net. Tafea's defense was constantly tested by Waita and Malas as they provided great through balls and defense splitting passes. Witney proved to be the source of much joy as he frequently enchanted football fans with his fancy ball skills and fast runs however the last goal for Amical was deemed unfortunate by most onlookers especially Tafea fans. Veteran Tafea and Vanuatu defender Samson was clearing a ball when Witney quickly stretched out a leg and caught Samson's swinging foot, injuring Samson who collapsed in pain and remained motionless. Referee waved play on and the return ball found Whitney who found it easier to penetrate the Tafea defense minus defender Samson who was still on the ground close to the sidelines. Witney's low shot found the back of the net leaving Tafea protesting the referee's negligence of the foul.
Witney's move on Samson when seen properly by match officials is a red-card offense and can be appropriately compared to Ronaldinho's send-off in the 2002 FIFA World Cup in the match against England.
Tafea have been known for their sheer determination and repeatedly pressed forward but could not find another goal before the final whistle.
Despite the loss, Tafea showed a great display of football with fast runs and great balls from a side injected with new and young blood. Notable performances from the youngsters in the Tafea side were from Nanua and Silas. Nanua disturbed Witney from unleashing his full potential and showed very skillful interceptions on both high and ground balls.
Silas, on the other hand, proved himself as one the Premiere League's greatest and fastest dribblers of the ball.
Tafea FC's renovated side in this season with the introduction of Siwi FC transfers, Noal and brothers Nanua and Daniel, signals a wind-of-change. The two brothers were icons in youth football competitions and are not new to Tafea FC, where they developed their game and were reputable both at club and national level before moving to play for first division club Siwi FC in the past years.
Robert Calvo's new signings are young and have yet to show-case their full potential to create fluent team-work with their more experienced team-mates. The two along with midfield General, Daniel are seen as potential hero's for Tafea FC in the Premiere League, as the youngsters mature in the top league.
Amical, as well as other Premiere football clubs, also have new and young football talents and are aware of the stiff competition looming in the Championships of the new season.
With all the hype of excitement of upcoming football talents, Vanuatu football fans should be well-entertained in the coming PVFL fixtures and should not turn down any opportunity to watch a match.
All in all, the stronger the football competition in the league the better the football standard will grow in the country.
Story from RN.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
at 5:12 PM