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First Half Blitz Gives Ifira Black Bird First Win Of Campaign

Vanuatu’s Ifira Black Bird FC have earned their first three points at the OFC Men’s Champions League 2024 in Tahiti, with a comfortable victory over Vaivase-tai FC at Stade Pater.

Beset by travel disruptions, the Vanuatu side struggled in their opening defeat to AS Pirae but were a much livelier outfit this time out, with a few extra days rest and a full squad at Jean Robert Yelou’s disposal.

Johnathan Spokeyjack was the key attacking threat for Ifira, breaking the deadlock for his side after just eight minutes, smashing an effort in at the near post past Kirk Auvele.

Three goals in six minutes put the game beyond doubt, with Tonly Kalotang doubling the lead, before Godine Tenene swept home from inside the area to make it three. Spokeyjack then added his second, finishing well after an excellent slide-rule pass set him free.

Kalotang and then Alphonse Lency almost added to the tally, both players striking the crossbar in quick succession as the half came to an end.

The Samoan side stuck to their task however and were rewarded ten minutes into the second half.

Alton Leiataua broke the offside trap with a perfectly timed run, before smashing an excellent effort into the top corner, notching Vaivase-tai FC’s first ever goal in an OFC Men’s Champions League in the club’s 60-year history.

Buoyed by the goal, Vaivase-tai were noticeably improved in the second half but were indebted to goalkeeper Auvele in keeping the scoreline down, making a string of excellent saves as Ifira looked to reassert their dominance.

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Jean Robert Yelou’s side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but struggled to add to their total in the second period, with Vaivase-tai’s defensive line working hard to keep their opponents at bay.

They added a fifth with only a few minutes left on the clock. Substitute Johndas Thomas reacting first to a poor goal kick from Auvele, breaking free to slot the ball under the on rushing keeper.

Fellow sub Ruben Frank nearly gave Ifira a sixth minutes later, crashing an effort against the bar from the edge of the area.

Vaivase-tai FC head home after the group stage but will have the highlight of a first tournament goal to hold onto.

Ifira Black Bird now look forward to a meeting with AS Magenta on Monday, knowing only a win will give them a chance of progressing to the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Vaivase-tai FC: 1 (Alton LEIATAUA 55’)
Ifira Black Bird FC: 5 (Johnathan SPOKEYKJACK 8’, 28’, Tony KALOTANG 20’, Godine TENENE 22’, Johndas THOMAS 87)

HT: 0-4

© Scoop Media

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