Kiwi FC goes down in first Champions League match

By Gutu Faasau 01 June 2023, 6:56PM

Samoa's Kiwi FC women's team did not get the start they were looking for as they went down 6-0 to Fiji's Labasa FC in the inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League.

It took Labasa Women FC just eight minutes into the first half to make an early statement at the tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. 

Striker Sofi Diyalowai scored a quite brilliant individual goal, turning her marker and sprinting 40 metres before sliding the ball past a despairing Kiwi FC goalkeeper Repeka Asofa Salele.

Diyalowai will go down in history as the first-ever goal scorer in the OFC Women’s Champions League and her early strike was just the start of things to come from the Fijian champions.

Midfielder Aliza Hussein grazed the outside of the post in the 18th minute with a curling shot before Stella Naivalulevu doubled the lead with a well-placed header to the left of Asofa Salele in the 24th minute.

Shayal Sindhika forced Asofa Salele into a classy save, diving to her right in the 38th minute to keep the Samoan side in the match.

However, just before the break, Diyalowai should have had her first hat trick, when put through one on one with the keeper. She scuttled her shot wide of the left-hand upright and a minute later with an open goal side-footed the ball to the left of the post.

Naivalulevu made no mistake on the stroke of halftime scoring her second with a powerful strike from outside the box that Asofa Salele couldn’t prevent from crossing the line and getting to the back of the net.

For Kiwi FC Sa Faavaoa Esau was industrious up front with limited opportunities while Autaele Tafafa Taavao had plenty of possession and created some half chances, but the final pass too often let the Samoan side down.

Labasa had several chances to extend their lead in the second spell but the Kiwi FC defence largely held firm until the 82nd minute when Unaisi Tuberi burst through and calmly slotted the ball past Asofa Salele with the outside of her foot.

More was to follow in the dying moments, as first Adi Vulitikoro rolled the ball into the corner when one-on-one to make it 5-0 before Tuberi added a sixth goal from the penalty spot to conclude the match. Kiwi FC will face PNG's Hekari United in their second game on Saturday.

By Gutu Faasau 01 June 2023, 6:56PM
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