Coach pleased with Lupe's efforts

While his team only drew in their second game of the Oceania Champions League qualifying stage, Lupe o le Soaga coach, Fa’aeanu’u Paul Ualesi, was much happier with their performance.

Lupe won their opener 2-0 over Veitongo on Saturday before a 0-0 draw against Tupapa Maraerenga on Tuesday, with the results enough to get them through to the next round.

“I know it’s a draw, but I could see in the team a lot of improvements,” Fa’aeanu’u said, happy with the confidence his team played with in the second game in Auckland.

“They ran with the ball, executed the plan.

“I think they dominated the game.”

Lupe o le Soaga couldn’t find the back of the net, but certainly had the better of their Cook Islands opponents Tupapa.

“It’s a tough game against Tupapa but they handled it,” Fa’aeanu’u said.

He’s hoping for more of the same in the Champions League group stage, where Lupe will play in either Tahiti or New Caledonia over the first week of March.

“It will be good to get back [to Samoa] and rebuild and refocus for the next stage,” Fa’aeanu’u said.

The players will have a week’s break before getting back into training, with developing their confidence and combinations further two key things to work on.

Over the games in Auckland, New Zealand-based import players Matthew Chant and Zane Green showed their worth to the team at striker and goalkeeper respectively.

Fa’aeanu’u said they did a great job off the field as well.

“They’ve got a lot of experience, which is really good for the boys,” he said, hoping the pair will be available for the group stage as well.

Each side can field a maximum of four import players, and Fa’aeanu’u said the main challenge to filling up that quota is financial – foreign players want to play for Lupe but it is not cheap to fly them over and get them in the team.

“We are so thankful for all of our supporters back home, and even in New Zealand, all the prayers for our team,” he said.

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