What a difference a year makes for New Caledonian side Hienghène Sport.
After winning the Oceania Champions League last year, they now find themselves knocked out of the very same competition after the Group Stages.
Not only were they knocked out of Group A. They were knocked out without showing anything and only managing one measly point, from a 2-2 draw with PNG side Hekari United.
As for the PNG side, who returned to the competition after three years away, they didn’t fare any better. A 2-1 win over Ni-Vanuatu side Galaxy on the final day was not enough to secure passage to the main round as they needed to win by three goals or more.
Which means that debutants Galaxy and Eastern Suburbs from New Zealand take the top two spots and progress through to the quarterfinals.
Malampa make history
In the other group that was played over the last week Malapa Revivors made history by progressing through to the knockout stage for the first time in their history.
Similar to Group A, this group also had a former champion that was knocked out in miserable fashion. Lautoka from Fiji only managed one point and even lost 7-0 to Lae City from PNG.
As for Lae they stumbled at the final hurdle and lost 3-0 to Malampa on the final day, giving them the spot in the knockout round.
As expected Henderson Eels progressed through to the knockout stages, but perhaps a little less convincingly than they had hoped. Two draws and only a 3-2 win over Lautoka leaves questions to be answered for the knockout round.
Groups C and D will kick off in one week’s time with the first matches scheduled for March 1st in Tahiti and New Caledonia.