The clash of the top outfits in the Van’s premiership saw defending champions Tupapa Maraerenga go down 2-1 against Puaikura in a tit-for-tat match over the weekend.
Host side Tupapa welcomed first placed Puaikura to the Victoria Park on Saturday, where they went head-to-head in a defining match of the Round Cup Competition.
Puaikura shot off to an aggressive start with an early opportunity which saw Anthony Samuela charge down a long ball from the half-way mark.
Tupapa sweeper Hone Fowler up to meet the challenge assisted Manaariki Pierre’s save to quickly cancel out Samuela’s heavy boot.
Both sides enjoyed plenty of possession with a few unsuccessful attempts at goal however it was Puaikura’s Kimiora Samuela, who took the lead for his side when he broke through a defenceless Tupapa backline to tip a low drive wide off Pierre in the 19th minute.
And taking their lead further was lethal striker Pekay Edwards who also ran on the ball to slip in their second goal of the match.
The 2-0 lead reinvigorated the visitors but Tupapa regained composure and, after a tough battle for possession were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 38th minute.
Star striker Campbell Best booted direct towards the firm Terence Maruariki but an unlucky deflection put him in trouble when Tupapa midfielder Geoffrey Strickland soared in from wide to power home the only goal for their side, taking the score up 2-1 going into the break.
In the second spell, both teams scratched to win and while Puaikura aimed to maintain their 2-1 lead, Tupapa were determined to equalise the score.
The hunt for another goal became desperate for the host team who picked up the pace and started to play fast and fluent attack football.
However, their luck with finishing in front of the 17-yard came short of time and before anyone knew it, Puaikura would go on to win the match.
The score remained 2-1 at the final whistle, extending Puaikura’s unbeaten streak in the competition and gaining them a step closer to qualifying for the OFC Preliminary tournament in Tonga next year.
It’s back to the drawing board for Tupapa who will now focus on getting through the Knockout stages of the competition.
Meanwhile, in the Islander Hotel Senior Women’s competition Tupapa Maraerenga escaped with a 3-2 win over Puaikura, while Titikaveka also continued in their winning ways against Avatiu with a 1-0 victory.
Here are the results from Round 11 matches last week with Nikao Sokattak left to take on Takuvaine tomorrow and Tuesday for their postponed games.
Avatiu FC vs Titikaveka FC
Premier Men 2-1
Senior Women 0-1
Under 17 Men 0-6
Under 14 Boys 0-7
Under 14 Girls 0-1
Under 11 Mixed0-0
Under 8 Mixed 0-1
Tupapa Maraerenga FC vs Puaikura FC
Premier Men 1-2
Senior Women 3-2
Under 17 Men 2-1
Under 14 Boys 1-1
Under 14 Girls 2-1
Under 11 Mixed3-2
Under 8 Mixed 0-2
Takuvaine FC vs Nikao Sokattak
Under 17 Men 0-4
Under 11 Mixed1-1
Under 8 Mixed 2-1