Second chances entice determined group C

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Benjamin Totori of Western United FC shields the ball from an Auckland City FC player during one of their previous matches. OFC

Western United and Malampa Revivors are both eager to earn their first points when they meet in their midweek clash before Lae City Dwellers and Auckland City FC face off for a spot at the top of the table on the second day of action in Group C of the OFC Champions League at Mangere Centre Park in Auckland Tomorrow (15th March).

A statement from OFC Media says after dropping the lead in the final minutes of their opening match against Auckland City, Western United are holding their heads high after an impressive performance and coach Commins Menapi is feeling more confident than ever heading into their 1pm fixture against Malampa Revivors.

“If we continue with our focus and concentration and learn from what we did against Auckland City then it will be a good game on Wednesday against Malampa,” Coach Menapi said.

“Malampa have got a lot of energetic players so we will have to be careful about how we attack and defend against them.

“We need to be more effective in attack and how we organise in our attack but I know the boys are ready.”

Still overwhelmed and humbled to be participating in the OFC Champions League, Malampa Revivors assistant coach Steven Ham has full focus on improving the side’s weaknesses to ensure they give their best in their second ever match of the competition.

“We’ve tried our best to prepare ourselves, especially our mentality, ahead of our game on Wednesday,” coach Ham said.

“We are preparing our defensive game and how we defend the opposition, but also our striking. We are trying our best to improve our finishing and try to put our system in place so we can put in a good game against Western United.

“We know Western are a really strong team but we will give our best.”

The second match will see the winners of day one battle for the top spot in Group C at 4pm, and with only one contender progressing on to the semi-finals, both Auckland City FC and Lae City Dwellers will be throwing everything into claiming the three crucial points.

After a dominant performance against Malampa Revivors that saw them claim their first win in this competition, Lae City Dwellers coach Peter Gunemba is polishing off certain areas ahead of their big clash with Auckland City, but believes his side is fully capable of defeating the six-time consecutive champions.

“They are the top team in the Oceania region and it’s going to be a big task but we will see how we go against them,” he said.

“We played them last year and we have a fair idea about how they play so we have to adjust ourselves and come up with a plan to counter attack them.

“In the first half I’ll look at the strength of our team and I’ll decide from there what we should do, but at this moment I can tell you that we are not scared, we are prepared to play them.

“I’m actually feeling quite relaxed and I’m looking forward to Wednesday.”

Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx is hoping to see an improvement after their very close battle with Western United, well aware of the depth of talent in the Lae City Dwellers squad after their 2-1 victory against the Papua New Guinean club in the 2016 OFC Champions League.

“We’ve seen them play before, we played them last year with most of the same players, so we understand these teams that are more focused and developed individually,” he said.

“They’ve got three or four players up front that are one-on-one very good, very fast, so we understand it is going to be very difficult.

“We understand from our last game that if we don’t switch on to 100 per cent, it can turn around nasty, so hopefully we’ve learned our lesson.”