Rarotonga club champions Puaikura FC have earned three points after defeating Veitongo FC 4-0 on Match Day One of the 2017 OFC Champions League Qualifier in Tonga last Friday.
The two sides battled in the second match of the day following the opener between Lupe Ole Soaga and Utulei Youth FC.
The day’s late match saw both teams tested until the 90th minute, as excessive heat prompted mandatory water breaks in both halves.
Puaikura’s Maro Bonsu-Maro opened the scoring for his side when he flicked the ball behind him and into goal during a scuffle of play in the Veitongo penalty area in the 19th minute.
Paul Rhodes, who had earlier missed the opportunity to give his side the lead when he had his penalty kick saved, sent an attempt through the hands of the Veitongo goalkeeper to secure the 2-0 lead going into the break.
In the second spell, possession was in favour of Puaikura at most times, with a number of unsuccessful shots on goal by Renta Yamamoto, Kimiora Samuela, Tyrell Tahiri and Rhodes.
But it wasn’t until the 90th minute another second from Rhodes and an own goal from a Veitongo defender secured the 3-0 win for Puaikura in an easier fought second half.
The side was highly commended by Coach Matt Calcott who was thrilled with the result considering the team only spent two days training as a full squad and played their first match together in demanding conditions.
Puaikura FC will face the winner of the other match, Lupe Ole Soaga this afternoon at 1:00pm on the second day of the 2017 OFC Champions League Qualifier.
A win is crucial for the Rarotonga champions if they want to qualify to the next stage of the tournament.