Coach Tuka Tisam has kept his Tupapa Maraerenga side grounded following their opening 1-0 win over Veitongo FC at the OFC Champions League Qualifying tournament in Apia.
The Cook Islands champions secured the crucial three points thanks to an early penalty against the Tongans but were guilty of squandering several gilt-edged chances to make the game safe.
Tisam says sharpening up in front of goal is a key focus ahead of this afternoon’s second match against American Samoa champions Ilaoa & To’omata.
“We must work on our finishing, create more opportunities so we can finish in front of goal. Everybody is fully fit and raring to go,” Tisam said.
Tupapa’s opponents conceded 13 goals in their opening match against Samoan champions Lupe Ole Soaga, but Tisam is adamant his side is starting again and are not underestimating the ability of the American Samoan team to raise their level.
“We have a job to do and are taking it day by day. We simply must create opportunities to score and ensure we get the three points.”
Victory for Tupapa Maraerenga and hosts Lupe Ole Soaga in the later would see both teams play on Thursday (Cook Islands time) in an effective final to decide which team qualifies for the OFC Champions League tournament in Vanuatu in May.
Tisam rightly so is not looking further than this afternoon’s fixture.
“My message to the team is simply go out there and enjoy themselves and play with freedom.” Tisam said.