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Waitakere goes down

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

THE 10-man AS Pirae defeated Waitakere United 2-1 to secure a spot in the OFC Champions League semi-final.

The side stunned the former champions with extraordinary soccer skills and well-connected passes to deny Waitakere the win at Lautoka's Churchill Park yesterday.

Playing with 10-men for about 40 minutes, AS Pirae players combined well to produce a wonderful display and ended their pool campaign on a high.

Star striker Li Fung Kuee surprised the Kiwis with a classic goal in the first minute of the game when he nailed a powerful cross kick from his teammate Naea Bennett to take his team into the lead.

Bennet registered his name on the scoresheet when he scored in the 18th minute of play to increase their tally.

The Kiwis on the other hand also had their moments but solid AS Pirae defenders kept the Kiwis at bay. Waitakere's best moment came as Joel Stevens danced his way past two defenders before beating AS Pirae goalkeeper Steven Hiriga for their lone goal. The Kiwis tried their best to capitalise on their one-man advantage but the brickwall defence from Pirae shattered their hopes of reaching the semi-final.

Elated with the win, Pirae skipper Marama Vahirua said the will to win and teamwork were paramount for his side.

He said the players were focused on their respective roles which he believed gave them the edge.

"Beating a top team like Waitakere is a proud moment for the players," said Vahirua.

"We didn't worry about winning — our main focus was to play our role as expected of us.

"We did a lot of passing as this created spaces to score goals."

Waitakere coach Paul Temple said his troops gave their best but it was not enough to win them the game.

"There are many young players in the team who have done well and we are still in the rebuilding phases after losing some key players," he added.

AS Pirae will face five-time OFC champion Auckland City in the semi-final while Vodafone 4R Electric Ba will play Amicale FC.

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