The two teams will battle today alongside Lupe Ole Soaga of Samoa, the top contender for second place finish, taking on Veitongo in American Samoa.
Tupapa Maraerenga are out to make it a clean sweep, while Pago Youth are hoping they can turn their own fortunes around.
The Cook Islands club champions made short work of Veitongo in their second match, putting on a structured, determined performance which saw them bag nine goals.
What they’ll be out to work on is their defensive approach after conceding two penalties, which is not something coach Alex Napa wants to see repeated.
“I don’t see any big changes in the way the match will be played,” he said.
“I think I’m going to insist my players – from the opening whistle to the closing one, need to be on top of our game. It’s the little things that are starting to affect the game plan.”
For Pago Youth, to have once again been on the receiving end of a hefty defeat was not a pleasant experience, and it’s one coach Li’atama Amisone Jr doesn’t want to see repeated today.
“We did not keep our composure and stick to the game plan,” he said.
“I will watch the film and identify how Cook Islands attack and whatever weaknesses they have so we can exploit them.”
Meanwhile, an exciting battle is expected between Lupe Ole Soaga and Veitongo for the second place in the OFC Champions League 2018 Group Stage.
“Our final game against Lupe Ole Soaga will be a bit difficult because we lose Sione Uhtahi the team captain and Soakai. The red cards really did not help overall,” Veitongo coach Timote Moleni said.
Although Lupe are on the right track, bouncing back in record style after losing their opening encounter, coach Paul Ualesi remains wary of the threat Veitongo poses.
“We have to prepare for our game against our brothers from Tonga because like I’ve said before, all the teams are here to win,” he said.
“We are trying to prepare and work hard on our weaknesses for the final game to qualify for the second stage.
“Veitongo is experienced, one of the good teams.”
- OFC Media/RK
Vital Statistics: It is the first time Tupapa Maraerenga will qualify for the OFC Champions League Group Stage through the Qualifier.
The Players: Samuel Maoate-Cox is a flexible player, comfortable defending and able to make crucial tackles, but also confident on attack and able to make ground quickly, especially when it’s on the counter.
Coach Quote: “We hope we can put a decent team in for the last game and make a good job of it at the last hurdle.”
Team List: 1. Sacha Nathu (GK), 2. Mii Joseph, 3. Sean Latimer, 4. Teina Savage, 5. Roimata Karika, 6. Samuel Maoate-Cox, 7. Campbell Best, 8. Lee Harmon, 9. Geoffrey Strickland, 10. Grover Harmon, 11. Maro Bonsu-Maro, 12. Willyn Karika, 13. Pachok Abba, 14. Edward Brogan, 15. Pekay Edwards, 16. Hone Fowler, 17. Tyrell Barringer-Tahiri, 20. Manaariki Pierre (GK)