Utulei Youth, alone at the top, finally
Utulei Youth is alone at the top of the standings with 25 points to Pago Youth’s 23, thanks to their 2-1 win, and the latter’s 2-2 with the Tafuna Jets on Match Day 9 on October 22, 2016.
It was the last match day of the round-robin stage that closed out the first part of the 2016 FFAS National League. In other games, it was Ilaoa & To’omata 1, Vaiala Tongan 0; Green Bay 3, Black Roses 1 and Royal Puma 4, PanSa 1.
The second part of this year’s FFAS National League will see the teams split into two, separate divisions, the Top 5 and Bottom 5. The Top Five teams are No. 1 Utulei Youth (8-1-0), No. 2 Pago Youth (7-2-0), No. 3 Lion Heart (7-1), No. 4 Tafuna Jets (4-3-2) and No. 5 Vaiala Tongan (4-5).
Competing in the Bottom 5 are No. 6 Ilaoa & To’omata (3-1-4), No. 7 Green Bay (3-1-5), No. 8 Black Roses (3-6), No. 9 Royal Puma (2-7) and No. 10 (0-9).
The Top 5 group will determine the champions for the 2016 season, and the Bottom 5 play for the final standings of the year in a round-robin format.
UTULEI YOUTH 2, LION HEART 1
Two headers from a the Kaleopa brothers helped Utulei Youth hold on for the win against Lion Heart in another thriller from the two-time defending champions.
Iopu Kaleopa rose above a defender to head in the first goal in the first half, and younger brother Ne’emia Kaleopa headed in the game-winner in the second period.
Lion Heart had briefly equalized the game thanks to a goal in the second half from Harvey Manu.
The men’s FFAS National Cup is now out of play, now that the National League will be split into two, separate groups. This marks the third year in-a-row that Utulei Youth has held on to the men’s cup.
PAGO YOUTH 2, TAFUNA JETS 2
All season long it was Pago Youth coming up with the late game heroics to keep keep abreast of Utulei Youth, while at the same time trying to hold on to the No. 1 spot in the standings.
This time the roles were reversed, with the Tafuna Jets coming back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the last 10 minutes of the match, thanks to two brilliant goals from Benjamin Tiatia.
Fish Rocha scored for Pago Youth while the second score was an own-goal by the Jets that all came in the first half. The draw on their last game of the first stage of the National League gave way to Utulei Youth to occupy the No. 1 spot all to themselves.
ILAOA & TO’OMATA 1, VAIALA TONGAN 0
A Shane Ah Hing goal in the 30th minute was the lone goal of the game between the two teams mired in the middle of the standings.
The win for Ilaoa & To’omata stops their four-game slide, but it was not enough to move them into the Top Five competition. Vaiala Tongan is two points clear of Ilaoa & To’omata for the fifth and final spot in the Top Five group.
GREEN BAY 3, BLACK ROSES 1
After a closely contested first half, Green Bay managed to distance themselves from Black Roses with two goals in the second to win their third game of the season.
A draw helps them earn a point more than Black Roses (10-9) for the No. 7 spot in the standings. Scoring for Green Bay were Aleni Vaieli, Solomona and Junior Choi. Falanisisi Tomasi scored for Black Roses.
ROYAL PUMA 4, PANSA 1
Two goals in two halves helped Royal Puma Beat PanSa 4-1, earning only their second win of the season.
Ryan Pa’aga and Erwin Henrikus scored in the first half to make it 2-0, and in the second Pa’aga added another goal to go along with Willie Malele’s first. Tafiga Faimanu scored for PanSa in their ninth straight loss of the competition.