Marist had to grip on to a crucial 1 all draw against a tough AS Magenta side at Lawson Tama Stadium today to keep their quarterfinal hopes alive.
The local side got off to a flying start by pressing hard early into the game, and it finally paid off in the 5th minute through a towering header by defender Michael Boso from an Atkin Kaua corner.
Their celebrations was short-lived 6 minutes later after Magenta’s Joseph Athale sent in an absolute firecracker at the top of the penalty box to level the scores.
Both teams tussled through fair chances but went to the dressing rooms after a fast and physical first half.
Marist kicked off the second half with more intent and pace, with captain Henry Fa’arodo orchestrating the attack from the enter, feeding the pacy Atkin Kaua, and David Tome in the flanks.
Magenta’s Richard Sele came close to scoring for the New Caledonian’s in the 57th minute from a long range shot that just went inches over the cross bar.
The match took a terrible turn of events for Marist after forward Abraham Iniga was handed his second yellow card and sent packing for dangerous foul against Mickhael Tiaou.
Despite going a man down, the homeside continued to press forward, Striker Matthias could’ve sealed the game in the 72nd minute from a rebound shot but quick reflexes at the back for Magenta denied the homeside their golden chance.
Marist Coach Jerry Allen said the red card gave the side the only option to hold on for a draw.
Allen said his side still has a shot at the quarterfinals and will give all in their final game.
He said Iniga’s absence for the next game will not affect the team’s performance as they have other players as replacements.
“Even though we have inexperienced players in the squad, we will continue try and score in the next game,” he said.
“We will go strong in the last game and make sure we get the 3 points.”
Marist will have to beat Lupe Ole Soaga on Friday, and hope Team Wellington beat AS Magenta to ensure their qualification for the quarter finals.
By: Lowen Sei