Tahiti and New Caledonia played the first of two friendlies at Stade Pater in Papeete this morning. Despite plenty of chances, the match lacked goals.
Tahiti had the opening minutes of the game in the palm of their hand and their beach soccer national team captain Raimana Li Fung Kuee was the most active of them all pacing up and down his right wing.
The first 15 minutes consisted of back and forth between the two sides and it was Li Fung Kuee who had the first proper chance. He took the ball down elegantly inside the New Caledonia box but the shot was too weak and it rolled into the hands of New Caledonia goalkeeper Mickaël Ulile.
Just five minutes later New Caledonia had their first chance at the other end when a long ball from Cédric Décoiré found Brice Dahité but the New Caledonian’s were stopped by an outrushing Jonathan Torohia in the Tahiti goal.
Just a couple of minutes later New Caledonia and Décoiré was the one to break through this time but again he found himself stopped by the beach soccer veteran in the Tahiti goal.
Torohia had to step up for the third time in just seven minutes as Dahité was back for more. The New Caledonian winger couldn’t get the shot past the Toa Aito’s captain this time either as Torohia made yet another great save.
As the first half progressed New Caledonia took over more and more, but woeful finishing and a good Torohia for Tahiti saw them waste their chances.
Just before half time, the Tahiti attack woke up again and within the last five minutes of the half, they had most of the possession without creating the big chances.
But just as the clock ticked into added time Yohann Tihoni was sent through on goal. The first shot was easily saved by Ulile but Tihoni got a second chance but squandered that one too, meaning the first half ended with the score still 0-0.
The second half started as the first ended, with both teams having a go at goal within the first minutes, but neither being able to break the deadlock.
As the half progressed several good chances were squandered by both sides and the finishing was not up to the standard of the rest of the play on the pitch as most shots were sent wide or over the goal without much pressure from opposition players.
Then, with just over five minutes to go, after Richard Sélé had wasted plenty of New Caledonia chances without threatening the goalkeeper, and various Tahiti players had done exactly the same, came the two biggest moments of the match.
A corner for New Caledonia found substitute Jean-Philibert Outiou who sent a header towards the top corner, but again Torohia was there to get a palm to it and send it onto the crossbar.
From that crossbar hit, Tahiti countered and sent New Caledonia goalkeeper Ulile out into a diving save, which was probably the save of the game, to give Tahiti a corner. The following corner saw another shot sail just inches wide of the post.
And when even an acrobatic diving header from Alvin Tehau went over the bar in added time you knew it wouldn’t be the day for goals.
So the match finished as it started. With no goals. That wasn’t for the lack of chances however and while a draw was a fair result, this really should have been a draw with goals in it, rather than a 0-0 draw.
The next match between the two will be held on Friday 23rd March at 20:00 local time (06:00/07:00 Saturday morning UK/CET Time)
Tahiti 0 – 0 New Caledonia (0-0)
Stade Pater Te Hono Nui, Papeete, Tahiti
Tahiti Starting XI:
Jonathan Torohia (GK), Angélo Tchen, Marama Amau, Hitinui Vernaudon, Raimana Li Fung Kuee, Heiarii Tavanae, Matatia Paama, Teaonui Tehau, Yohann Tihoni, Tamatoa Tetauira, Alvin Tehau
New Caledonia Starting XI:
Mickaël Ulile (GK), Georges Béaruné, Joseph Tchacko, Cédric Sansot, Joël Wakanumuné, Emile Béaruné, Cédric Décoiré, Richard Sélé, Warren Houala, Joseph Athalé, Brice Dahité