CONFEDERATIONS CUP: Nigeria win game, Tahiti win hearts



20130617 - Uwa Echieji


It was always going to be a huge uphill task for Tahiti taking on Nigeria but they showed great heart and glimpses of play that might win some of their players contracts across Europe or beyond.

In a beautiful moment, the minnows of Tahiti grabbed a momentous goal in their first match at a senior tournament but they could not handle Nigeria, who head into the next game confident with a 6-1 win.

Any neutral fan inside the stadium cheered for the huge underdogs and that crowd erupted when Vincent Simon hit the first shot on target two minutes in.

Tahiti was making a real go of the match everyone said they would have no chance in, and their hopes were shattered after an incredible unlucky goal on 4 minutes. Nigerian defender Uwa Echiejile hit a exploratory effort from outside the box which first struck Jonathan Tehau, before knocking into captain Nicolas Villar to take the ball past a stranded goalie Xavier Samin.

The Africans then doubled their lead with a well-taken effort by Nnamdi Oduamadi. A limp Tahiti pass was pounced upon by the AC Milan forward, who calmly slotted home past Samin.

Nigeria extended their lead shortly after CSKA Moscow winger Ahmed Musa broke down the left and his rather tame cross was spilled by Samin, allowing Oduamadi to tap home the rebound for his second of the game.

The goalkeeper looked devastated by his mistake but gained redemption just minutes later. Nigeria broke past the Tahitian high-line once more and Anthony Ujah found himself through one-on-one with Samin. Ujah had Musa to the left of him but decided to go solo and Samin dove at his feet to make a brave stop as he tries to round him, a good piece of goalkeeping which brought the crowd to great applause. Sunday Mba found himself in a similar situation on 38 minutes and Samin saved again.

Even though the Nigerians spurned chances to extend the lead, Tahiti still tried to get forward with Panathinakos midfielder Marama Vahirua leading the charge but unfortunately due to the lack of quality in the team, they failed to test goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

20130617 - Tahiti

The moment of the match came when the Pacific Islanders scored their historic goal. The side’s only professional player Vahirua placed a corner to the back post, where the rising Jonathan Tehau smacked his header past Vincent Enyeama. The celebrations by the players on the pitch and from coach Eddy Etaeta on the sideline were something to behold, as the Tahitians revelled in the limelight for the first time.

They were quickly brought down to earth though, as the goalscorer of that historic effort poked an Oduamadi cross past his own goalkeeper, with substitute striker Brown Ideye applying pressure.

Oduamadi completed his hat-trick with a simple tap-in, with Echiejile completing the rout with his second with ten minutes to go.

The Nigerians will face a much tougher test when they come up against Copa America winners Uruguay in their next game on Thursday. The Tahitians in the meantime face the trip of a lifetime to the Maracana to face World Cup winners Spain.

TAHITI: Samin, Vahirua (Atani 70), Ludivion, Caroine, Bourebare, Vallar (Faatiarau 54), Chong Hue, Aitamai, J.Tehau, Simon (Lemaire 78), A.Tehau

NIGERIA: Enyeama, Oboabona, Echiejile, Ambrose, Mikel, Ogude, Ujah (Ideye 52), Oduamadi, Omeruo (Egwuekwe 74), Musa, Mba (Ogu 57)

20130617 - Confeds Group B



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