The Koriak Upaiga captained Hekari United’s aim to finish second in the Group C was dashed Thursday.
This was after their game against New Caledonia champions AS Magenta in the Group C clash at Govind Park in Ba ended in 2-2 draw.
Hekari United despite the services of two Fijian International players Pita Bolaitoga and Taniela Waqa failed to spark the team.
In the 38th minute Hekari suffered a blow as they were reduced to 10 men after goalkeeper Leslie Kalai was red carded by referee Gerald Oiako for bringing down Bertrand Kai in the box.
In 51st minute Nigel Dabinyaba opened the floodgates after he easily beat goalie Jelen Ixoee from a corner.
In the 62nd minute, AS Magenta’s Bertrand Kai headed the equaliser.
In the 65st minute Nicholas Muri scored from a accurate pass from Daniel Joe for Hekari United to lead 2-1.
But in the 71st minute, veteran Pierre Wajoka equalised for AS Magenta.
Hekari United coach Jerry Allen: The red card didn’t help proceedings and was ultimately a deciding factor in their inability to secure the three points.
“I think we wanted to win this game. We still managed to keep ourselves in the game after the sending off which was good, because 10v11 is sometimes impossible.
“But the boys stuck to the plan and played their best because we were one down. Even though we had 10 men we managed to come back and score a goal, but unfortunately so did they.”
Alain Moizan of AS Magenta: It was another hugely disappointing display from his side and while they’re a long shot for topping the pool, he’s still keen to see improvement from his players for their final match.
“Obviously that wasn’t the result that we wanted and I’m incredibly disappointed by it.
“The result was disappointing, as well as the manner in which we got it. We showed a lot of naivety for the two goals and at this level we don’t have that right.”