Erakor, Dragon start OFC Champs League in winning fashion

Vanuatu's Erakor Golden Star and host club AS Dragon have made winning starts to their OFC Champions League football campaigns in Tahiti.

Erakor beat 10-man Solomon Warriors 2-0 in the opening Group B match at Stade Pater in Papeete.

The key moment in the match came in the 63rd minute when Warriors goalkeeper Abraham Bird was sent off for handling the ball outside the box.

Barry Mansale stepped up and curled the resulting free-kick into the top left hand corner of the goal to open the scoring before Tony Kaltack doubled their lead a minute later.

Erakor coach Obed Jimmy said it was a big result.

"I'm very proud of my boys and of the result. 2-0 is a huge result for us," he said.

"It's always important to start well. It's great motivation for the boys. We believe we can keep winning in the next game (against AS Dragon)."

Solomon Warriors coach Moses Toata said even with a man down his side had chances.

"The red card was the turning point in the match but I'm very disappointed because we could've finished the game in the first half," he said.

"We had three clear goal scoring opportunities and we wasted them. We must give credit to Erakor's goalkeeper. He saved a number of our chances. We lost the game because of a bad mistake from the goalkeeper."

Hosts AS Dragon thrashed 10-man AS Lossi from New Caledonia 4-0 in an all francophone affair.

Lossi had defender Warren Saiko dismissed for a foul on Tamatoa Teatauira in the 20th minute and it was the Dragon captain who finally broke the deadlock in the 47th minute with a back post header.

He added a second in the 78th minute, either side of strikes from Reynald Lemaitre and Rainui Tze-Yu to seal a comfortable victory.

"To be honest we had a bit of a problem in the first half where Lossi was attacking more than us and I put two centre backs in," admitted AS Dragon coach Timiona Asen.

"When they went down to ten, I put two attacking midfielders in and one central defender and that's when we started to have more chances.

"They said in the press conference that they came here to compete and we said we wouldn't give up either. I told the team we have 90 minutes to play and we made the difference only in the second half."

AS Lossi coach Victor Weijeme praised his side's ability to stay in the game despite the red card and a disallowed goal but said eventually Dragon were able to capitalise on the extra man.

"At half time I readjusted a couple of things and told my players the best strategy was to wait for our opponents but Dragon profited from all the spaces between the lines on our left side following our left back's sending off," he said.

"There was a boulevard on our left side and they managed to score before we fixed the problem, it was too late. This is football."