OFC Champions League

Next stage unveiled in battle for Oceania club supremacy

The revised competition format, which was adapted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce travel requirements on teams, is split into two phases.

Stage one will determine which clubs contest stage two, which will be an eight-team centralised finals tournament scheduled for August this year.

Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will stage home and away playoffs – involving the champion and runner up from their respective national league – through June, from which each winner will secure qualification to the finals tournament.

OFC Champions League cancelled due to Covid

The competition reached the quarter-final stage after pool play in February and March before the pandemic took hold.

The OFC Champions League playoff matches were due to be played in April and May but were delayed multiple times.

Clubs from New Zealand, Vanuatu, Tahiti, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia had advanced to the knockout stages.

The winner of this year's OFC Champions League was set to attend the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

Batick hat-trick puts Malampa top of Group B

The pressure was on Malampa as they needed a win to advance in the second match of the day after the Henderson Eels had come from behind to edge Lautoka 3-2 in the earlier fixture during a thrilling final day of group play.

Henderson Eels 3-2 Lautoka FC 

The Henderson Eels were about nine minutes away from elimination before late goals to Raphael Le’ai and Joses Nawo helped them beat Fiji’s Lautoka 3-2.

PNG to host OFC Champions League Group A

PNGFA President John Kapi Natto said this will be the first time for Papua New Guinea to host a group match of the region’s premier international club competition.

“We are excited and looking forward to host an international tournament,” Kapi Natto said.

“It will be a good change for Papua New Guinea football fans to witness Hekari United in action on home soil against top clubs from New Zealand, New Caledonia and Vanuatu in February next year. The event will take place from Feb 16-22.”

Toti City Dwellers in high spirits

Upon arrival yesterday at the Jackson’s International Airport, coach Peter Gunemba said making it to the quarter finals is a success story for the team.

Toti City Dwellers FC, formerly known as the Lae City Dwellers, were undefeated in their Group A matches, registering one win and two draws at Stade Yoshida in New Caledonia. 

They finished two points behind group leaders and hosts, Hienghene.

Toti City coach Peter Gunemba said the toughest teams were pooled in Group A, and the high competition pushed his boys beyond their limits.

Group D still an open race

Team Wellington are also keen to secure a win and keep the dream alive, after dropping their first ever Group Stage points in the draw with Marist, when they face Samoa club champions Lupe Ole Soaga in the opening match at Lawson Tama Tuesday.

In the three previous OFC Champions League editions they’ve featured in, Team Wellington had never lost or drawn a match which makes the 1-1 draw against the favourites from New Zealand a feat for Marist.

Three-way tussle on Group B’s final day

In what shapes as a fascinating final day at Stade Pater, hosts AS Dragon (6 points and a goal difference of +5), Solomon Warriors (3 points, +3) and Vanuatu’s Erakor Golden Star (3 points, +1) could each top the group, qualify as runners-up or miss the playoffs altogether by finishing third.

In the most complex scenario, wins to Erakor and Solomon Warriors would leave all three teams level on six points with the final positions decided on goal difference, goals scored then a countback on head-to-head results if required.

AS Dragon close in on OFC Champs League quarters

Dragon beat Vanuatu's Erakor Golden Star 4-3 in dramatic fashion while the Warriors thrashed AS Lossi from New Caledonia 6-1.

Reynald Lemaitre's glancing header in the 11th minute opened the scoring for hosts Dragon but Erakor needed only four minutes to equalise from the penalty spot.

The Vanuatu club twice took the lead during the second half at Stade Pater and an 84th minute own-goal appeared to have secured all three points, despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men.

Leaders square off in Group B

Meanwhile, in the afternoon kick-off at Stade Pater it’s do-or-die for Solomon Warriors and New Caledonia’s AS Lossi who each need points to keep alive their hopes of claiming one of the two playoff places on offer.

Buoyed by their 2-0 win over Solomon Warriors on Sunday, Erakor Golden Star’s coach Obed Jimmy said the Vanuatu club were riding a wave of confidence as they look to back up against the Tahitian champions.

“I told our players before the first game that the first match would push us to a new level,” Jimmy said.

Erakor, Dragon start OFC Champs League in winning fashion

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.