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Elikana shines in Sokattak’s second loss

Tuesday 9 August 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Soccer, Sports

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Elikana shines in Sokattak’s second loss
Nikao stopper Tahiri Elikana. Photo: Phototek/OFC MEDIA/22080803

Nikao Sokattak goalkeeper Tahiri Elikana received the player of the match award in the club’s 0-1 loss toNew Caledonia’s Hienghène Sportin Group B of the OFC Champions League 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand.

The match played on Sunday night (Cook Islands time) was Rarotonga-based club’s second after their 1-3 loss to Rewa FC of Fiji in the opening pool match.

Against Hienghène Sport, Nikao showed dogged defensive display and a brilliant individual performance to keep the tie deadlocked in the opening spell.

Hienghène laid siege to the Nikao goal throughout the first half, missing several gilt-edged chances to give them the lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Nikao’s charismatic goalie Elikana then began his heroics, first denying Hienghène captain Bertrand Kai before making an impressive reflex stop from Miguel Kayara’s powerful strike.

Hienghène’s chances continued to pile up but Nikao were doing everything in their power to keep the game scoreless, in hope of a big scalp over the 2019 winners.

If it wasn’t player-of-the-match Elikana denying the New Caledonian side, Nikao’s defenders got themselves in the way, Silas Trego blocking Kai’s half-volley off the line as the underdogs held on until the break.

The one-way traffic continued in the second period and after seeing another chance go begging, Fonzy Ranchain finally got his goal, breaking the offside trap to head home Joseph Athale’s lobbed pass and breaking Nikao’s brave resolve.

Elikana continued to produce magic to keep the scoreline down, twice preventing Ranchain with acrobatic stops while Toru Mateariki had Nikao’s first chance of the game after a flying counter-attack, his effort being palmed away by Hienghene stopper Jacques Nyikeine.

Nikao came close to a smash-and-grab late equaliser when Mark Leito smashed over a volley after Stephen Willis’ long throw but the reigning champions saw out a hard-fought win which eliminates their valiant opponents.

Hienghène take on Fiji’s Rewa in their final Group B clash on Wednesday (CI time) with a place in the semi-finals on the line while Nikao Sokattak face Auckland City FC with both team’s contrasting fates already confirmed.

  • OFC Media