It has been one of the best seasons for the Tupapa Maraerenga premier men’s side, which maintained an unbeaten run in their division, leading up to Saturday’s clash.
Former champions Puaikura finally ended Tupapa Maraerenga’s winning streak with a brilliant come-from-behind 5-4 win at Victoria Park.
Tupapa Maraerenga clearly invested a lot of hard work into their season and it has all paid off, with the team now preparing for the regional meet to be held in American Samoa in January.
Saturday’s clash between the two giants was a spectacular encounter, with the Tupapa Maraerenga goalkeeper allowing Puaikura to score four goals within 30 minutes in the second half to secure the big win.
Tupapa Maraerenga led 4-1 at the break but a grand comeback in the second half saw Puaikura win the match 5-4.
The first and only goal in the first half for Puaikura came three minutes into the game.
Pekay Edwards was on target for the visitors after slotting in an easy goal, following a mistake from the Tupapa Maraerenga goalkeeper.
Lee Harmon’s free kick got Tupapa Maraerenga back on level terms. He sent an absolute screamer, soaring right over the Puaikura stopper into the net.
Minutes later, Paavo Mustonen was penalised for taking out a host player.
Mii Joseph’s free kick rebounded off a Puaikura defender in the box and Geoffrey Strickland followed it up with a neat goal to help the home team go up by 2-1.
Puaikura had an opportunity to level the match when Dwayne Tiputoa sent a powerful shot that was deflected by the Tupapa Maraerenga goalkeeper.
Great passing saw nippy forward Strickland connect with Campbell Best who came up with a superb finish, powering a shot into the bottom right corner of the post to go up 3-1.
In the 37th minute, Strickland got his brace from a header to ensure Tupapa Maraerenga go into the break with a comfortable 4-1 lead.
In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Puaikura dazzled their opponents and the crowd with superb ball movement and finishing skills to achieve the “impossible”.
Pekay Edwards’ pass in the opening quarter of the second spell caught the Tupapa Maraerenga defenders square, allowing Anthony Samuela to race in from the midfield and smash the ball into the net for a 4-2 score line.
Edwards turned provider to finisher when he executed a pass from Kimiora Samuela to cushion Puaikura’s deficit to 3-4.
Another goal saw both teams locked at 4-all before Puaikura completed their fairytale comeback with the winning goal, to head home with a 5-4 win.
In the other premier men’s matches, Takuvaine overcame Avatiu 3-0 in their final game for the Round Cup Competition and Nikao Sokattak thrashed Titikaveka 7-0 at home.
It’s a close battle for second place on the points table and Nikao Sokattak will have to win their last game to better their chances of a podium finish.
CIFA congratulates the winners of the 2017 Van’s Premiership title and wish them a successful Oceania Football League Preliminary campaign in American Samoa. - CIFA Media
Results;Tupapa Maraerenga-Puaikura – Premier men’s 4-5, Senior women’s 4-0, U14 Boys 6-0, U14 Girls 1-2, U-11 Mixed 0-3, U8 Mixed 0-1; Nikao Sokattak-Titikaveka – Premier men’s 7-0, Senior women’s 2-1, U14 Boys 4-2, U14 Girls 1-0, U11 Mixed 6-1, U8 Mixed 1-3; Avatiu-Takuvaine – Premier men’s 0-3, Senior women’s 1-1, U14 Boys 0-4, U11 Mixed 1-2, U8 Mixed 0-0