Jets retain cup in 1-0 thriller against Utulei Youth
The Tafuna Jets retained the men’s Division 1 FFAS National Cup 1-0 against Utulei Youth during Round 4 of the 2013 FFAS National Cup last Saturday Sept. 14.
In other games it was Taputimu Youth 3, Lion Heart 1; FC SKBC 1, Black Roses 0 and Pago A 14, Pago B 1.
Tafuna put everything they had into this win as they went down a man after Mark Pese was sent off in the 29th minute.
From then on the Jets kept fending off attack after attack by Utulei and barely managed to score themselves.
It was a series of events that led to the score with Tafuna defenders clearing the ball away from the penalty area. The ball bounced in midfield and Sam ‘Pili’ Taulealo chipped it forward to a sprinting Roy Luani.
Luani smartly turned to his right after possessing the ball to break away from the second to last defender before passing it to teammate Viliamu Tauanu’u who then blasted it past the goalie for the game’s only goal in the 62nd minute.
As for Utulei, they just could not take advantage of the extra player and at times saw point blank shots veer off or kicked away. One such instance of great defense by the Jets had goalie KB Mariota miss the ball two yards out from the six-yard box.
Utulei attacker Elama Fa’atonu was only able to put on a weak kick with the ball rolling slowly towards the goal for a score, but luckily for the Jets Mathew Mariota was able to save his team and older brother by clearing away the would-be goal.
Utulei Youth club president, Rev. Ioane Evagelia, thanked Tafuna at the end of the game for a well-played match and encouraged them to play well for the remainder of the competition.
“I believe you have a very good squad and can go all the way if you can play together,” Rev. Evagelia pointed out.
Besides retaining the cup, the win also helped Tafuna (3-1-0) keep abreast of the championship race with Taputimu (3-1-0) as both teams are tied for the lead with 10 points each. Taputimu holds the goals differential tiebreaker (6-4) for first place.
In third is FC SKBC (3-0-1) after a hard fought 1-0 win against Black Roses (1-1-2) while Pago A (2-1-1-) moves up one spot to No. 4 while Black Roses is No. 5.
Lion Heart (1-0-3), Utulei Youth (1-0-3) and Pago B (0-4) round out the eight-team division.
Challenging for the cup this week is FC SKBC while in other games it will be Pago A vs. Lion Heart, Black Roses vs. Utulei Youth and Pago B vs. Taputimu Youth.
There are three more rounds remaining in the 2013 National League season.