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A Haul of Scanlan sends Kiwi FC to OFC Champions League

Paul Scanlan of Kiwi FC (Samoa) scored 4 goals against Lotoha’apai United FC, sending his team to the OFC Champions League starting end of February.

Paul Scanlan scored 4 goals against for Kiwi FC Lotoha’apai United FC in OFC Champions League qualifiers

The last seat for the OFC Champions League was in contention this weekend, and Kiwi FC of Samoa took it over the hosts of Lotoha’apai United FC (Cook Islands), after an incredible game.

Lotoha’apai United FC seemed to be slight favorites - they just needed a draw - in particular playing on home soil. But the game did not exactly turn their way... It took only three minutes to the Samoans to open the score, starting a flood of goals.

And the one who shone particularly in this goal fest (9-1 for Kiwi in the end...) was Paul Scanlan, the number 10 of the team. He scored no less than four goals, including a pure beauty, where he drove the whole central defense of Lotoha’apai nuts.

In total, Scanlan scored six goals in three games and even impressed his coach, Martin Tamasese : "He is a speedster and a very talented guy and I’m really happy for him to get four goals." Moreover, the coach is now looking ahead of the group phase.

"Four years ago we represented our country in the Group Stage and ever since we wanted to come back, so this is our chance not only to qualify for the next stage but to be competitive". Quite a challenge, as Kiwi FC will face defending champions Team Wellington from New Zealand, Fiji's Ba and hosts Erakor Golden Star from Vanuatu in Group C.

Haka before the game between Kiwi FC and Lotoha’apai United FC

On the other side, Lotoha’apai United was obviously very disappointed after such a heavy defeat, denying them reaching the group stage. Had they qualified, we would have witnessed a very rare situation in football: a father and his son playing together.

Pua Falepapalangi is the captain of the team, while his son Tula is one of the most promising players of the island. Against Pago Youth in their first game, Tula scored a hat-trick, and his dad a superb long lob to finish the game.

"Tula is one of the most promising young talents, he represented Tonga at Under-20 level and he is one of the players to watch in the Pacific. It’s also a piece of history playing with his dad in the field, his father who is the captain, and they scored four goals between them, it’s history for Tonga and also for Oceania", said Lui Muavesi, the Lotoha’apai United coach, after the game against Pago Youth.

Unfortunately, the overall performance was not enough to carry on the fairy tale story onto the OFC Champions League. The other team which qualified for the group stage is Tupapa Maraerenga, with 3 wins in 3 games. They will face nine-times champions Auckland City, New Caledonia's Magenta and hosts Solomon Warriors in Group D, starting 23 February.