Coach proud of history-making win
Coach of Lupe o le Soaga, Fa’aeanu’u Paul Ualesi, could not be prouder of his team after their historic Oceania Champions league win over Fijian club, Ba.
An electric first half saw them shoot out to a, 4-0, lead on Thursday night at Stade Mahina in Tahiti, and they held on to triumph 4-3 in the end.
Fa’aeanu’u said getting a first-ever victory for a Samoan side in the competition is a massive achievement for both the club and the country.
“It’s a brilliant moment for us, it’s a really good feeling,” he said. “Even now the boys are still hyped up.”
Fa’aeanu’u had always said Lupe were heading to Tahiti to compete in their Group D matches, not merely participate, and they proved it against Ba.
“Winning over one of the giants from Fiji is a really great achievement for us,” he said
“All glory to the heavenly father for all the blessings to our team, and credit to all the supporters. Our beloved Magiagi and all of Samoa, we created history with a great win for you guys.”
Lupe played some spectacular football in the first half, carving Ba up with slick passing moves for their four goals, making the final-ball improvements their coach wanted after their previous match.
“They built the combinations, they built the confidence and got that finishing really good," Fa’aeanu’u said.
“We told the boys, even if you assist the goal or whatever, that’s a brilliant moment.”
He fully expected Ba to come out firing after halftime, and the Fijians eventually scored three goals between the 72nd and 76th minutes of play.
“Around that time for me, I just needed the referee to blow the whistle!” Fa’aeanu’u said.
But he urged his players to keep up their efforts:
“If you wanna make history just stand on your feet, fight, fight ,fight
“The boys played from their hearts, giving all their best for this game. “
Fa’aeanu’u particularly noted their efforts in shutting down Ba forward Benjamin Totori, the Solomon Islands international and former Wellington Phoenix player.
“The boys didn’t give him a chance yesterday,” he said.
Unfortunately the boys from Magiagi don’t have time to celebrate their famous win too much yet; after some recovery at the beach on Friday they get straight into preparing for their final Group D match against Auckland City.
“We can wait to come over to Samoa and celebrate over there,” Fa’aeanu’u said.
Auckland City, who won their two matches so far 6-0 and 1-0 over Ba and AS Venus respectively, are the class of the competition with a record nine titles over the years.
“Even though it’s a really hard battle to play Auckland City, it’s good to challenge ourselves, good to learn from them and to improve from that game as well,” Fa’aeanu’u said.
“A lot of teams want to play Auckland City, I told the boys this is a really good chance for you guys because this is a top team in Oceania.
“We’ll give them a fight and challenge, you never know what’s going to happen.
“We’re going to work hard and stay humble.”
Kickoff is at 5pm on Sunday Samoan time.