Tahiti club joins Auckland City in last four at OFC Men’s Champions League

Three clubs, including New Zealand’s Auckland City, have booked semi-final berths at the OFC Men’s Champions League tournament in Tahiti.

Tahiti’s AS Pirae joined Auckland City and Fiji’s Rewa in the last four by drawing 0-0 with New Caledonia’s AS Magenta at Stade Pater in Papeete on Sunday (NZT).

That means the last group B fixture on Tuesday between AS Magenta and Ifira Black Bird will decide which of those will complete the teams for the knockout stages, and who will meet who in the semi-finals on Thursday (NZT).

Earlier, Ifira Black Bird beat Vaivase-tai 5-1.

Main photo: Though losing, Vaivase-tai had reason to celebrate when they scored their first-ever goal at the OFC Champions League. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

AS Pirae made sure they progressed from their group with a scoreless draw against AS Magenta.

Having won their opening two matches, the host nation side knew a point would be enough to secure their passage to the final four. AS Magenta were looking to build upon an impressive 8-0 victory over Vaivase-tai FC.

In a first-half low on chances but high on intensity, AS Magenta were the brighter of the two sides, Jean-Marie Hmaloko going closest in the early stages with a whipped left-footed free-kick drifting just wide.

AS Magenta and AS Pirae played out a goalless draw. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

The Tahitian club struggled to grab a foothold in the tie. The influential Désiré Ngiamba — Player of the Match against Ifira Black Bird — cutting in from the right before shooting tamely at Mickael Ulile in the AS Magenta goal.

The scrappy nature of the half was typified by a late tackle from Pirae captain Heimano Bourebare, the skipper picking up a yellow card for his lunge on Antoine Pereira de Carvalho.

Pirae picked up their performance notably in the second half and could have taken the lead through Yohann Tihoni.

Intricate link play led to the midfielder having space on the right side of the box but saw his effort sliced wide of the near post.

Magenta continued to push and came within centimetres of taking the lead with ten minutes remaining.

A cross from the right was inadvertently deflected onto the crossbar by Matatia Paama, with goalkeeper Francois Decoret rooted to the spot.

The New Caledonian side almost stole it at the death when the ball ricocheted to Rodrigue Walone, who could only re-direct the ball agonisingly over the bar.

The stalemate leaves AS Pirae top, with AS Magenta needing to avoid defeat against Ifira Black Bird on Monday to confirm their place in the semi-finals.

Ifira Black Bird beat Valvase-tai 5-1

Vanuatu’s Ifira Black Bird FC have earned their first three points at the OFC Men’s Champions League in Tahiti, with a comfortable victory over Vaivase-tai FC at Stade Pater.

Beset by travel disruptions, the Vanuatu side struggled in their opening defeat to AS Pirae but were a much livelier outfit this time out, with a few extra days rest and a full squad at coach Jean Robert Yelou’s disposal.

Johnathan Spokeyjack was the key attacking threat for Ifira, breaking the deadlock for his side after just eight minutes, smashing an effort in at the near post past Kirk Auvele.

Three goals in six minutes put the game beyond doubt, with Tonly Kalotang doubling the lead, before Godine Tenene swept home from inside the area to make it three.

Spokeyjack then added his second, finishing well after an excellent slide-rule pass set him free.

Johnathan Spokeyjack celebrates after scoring. Photo credit: OFC Media / Phototek.

Kalotang and then Alphonse Lency almost added to the tally, both players striking the crossbar in quick succession as the half came to an end.

The Samoan side stuck to their task, however, and were rewarded ten minutes into the second half.

Alton Leiataua broke the offside trap with a perfectly timed run before smashing an excellent effort into the top corner, notching Vaivase-tai’s first-ever goal in an OFC Men’s Champions League in the club’s 60-year history.

Buoyed by the goal, Vaivase-tai were noticeably improved in the second half but were indebted to goalkeeper Auvele in keeping the scoreline down, making a string of excellent saves as Ifira looked to reassert their dominance.

Jean Robert Yelou’s side enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but struggled to add to their total in the second period, with Vaivase-tai’s defensive line working hard to keep their opponents at bay.

They added a fifth with only a few minutes left on the clock. Substitute Johndas Thomas reacted first to a poor goal kick from Auvele, breaking free to slot the ball under the on-rushing keeper.

Fellow sub Ruben Frank nearly gave Ifira a sixth minutes later, crashing an effort against the bar from the edge of the area.

Vaivase-tai FC head home after the group stage but will have the highlight of a first tournament goal to hold onto.

Ifira Black Bird look forward to a meeting with AS Magenta on Tuesday (NZT), knowing only a win will give them a chance of progressing to the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.


We are grateful for the help of OFC Media in providing the information for this story.


Games played on Sunday May 19, 2024 (NZT)

Group B

Vaivase-tai 1 (Alton Leiataua 55’)
Ifira Black Bird 5 (Johnathan Spokeyjack 8’, 28’, Tony Kalotang 20’, Godine Tenene 22’, Johndas Thomas 87′)

AS Magenta 0
AS Pirae 0



Game to be played on Tuesday May 21, 2024 (NZT)

Ifira Black Bird v AS Magenta
Stade Pater, Papeete, 4pm (NZT)

Games to be played on Thursday May 23, 2024 (NZT)


Auckland City v Runners-up group B
Stade Pater, Papeete, 12pm (NZT)

Winners group B v Rewa
Stade Pater, Papeete, 4pm (NZT)

More football stories