Vanuatu champions Nalkutan FC have won their first ever Oceania Champions League game after victory over Ba FC of Fiji.
Veteran Solomon Islands midfielder James Naka, 33, kept his composure to score the only goal of the game from the penalty spot for an historic win.
Ba FC, known as the Men In Black, are veterans of the tournament but lost their opening game of the tournament to continue their poor start to the 2018 season.
They had Pacific Mini Games top scorer Saula Waqa up front and would have been bouyed by the fact Nalkutan’s Bong Kalo was ruled out with an injury before the tournament.
Nalkutan were quick out of the blocks with a number of chances. Youngster Azariah Soromon, who has been linked with European trials after the tournament, looked a threat and had an early chance saved for Nalkutan.
Nalkutan’s Raoul Coulon was forced to go off with an injury after an early clash of heads but his team rallied to take all three points.
An even game erupted when Ba FC’s Malakai Tiwa handballed in the penalty area. He was sent off for a second yellow card and Naka stepped up to score Nalkutan’s first ever Oceania Champions League goal.
Shortly after the goal Nalkutan found themselves down to ten men when Joses Nawo was given a straight red card for a crunching tackle.
The fast pace of the match led to numerous bookings for either side but the Vanuatu side hung on to win their first game of Group A, putting them second in the early group behind Lae City Dwellers.
“I’m very happy, very happy as a coach,” Nalkutan’s Moise Poida said after the game.
“We expected a very good team across from us tonight, I’m happy with the many supporters, they came out tonight and cheered for my team and that really helped us get a victory today.”
Oceania Champions League Group A
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Nalkutan 1-0 Ba FC
Nalkutan scorer: James Naka (Pen)
Malakai Tiwa (Ba FC) sent off, Joses Nawo (Nalkutan) sent off.