FFAS > News > OFC STAGE 1 QUALIFIERS > American Samoa 2, Tonga 1

American Samoa 2, Tonga 1

Four years ago American Samoa beat Tonga 2-1 in Samoa and four years later they won their first game of the 2015 OFC Stage 1 by the same score. In the midst of both wins is Captain Ramin Ott, scoring in that win four years ago and then scoring the game-winner in their latest meeting to become the only local player to score in three FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
He also leaps ahead of current teammate Frankie Beauchamp and former colleague Shalom Luani with three goals to their two each as the all-time goal scorer.
“When the boys needed me the most I came through, the boys came through (too), hats off to them and hats off to Tonga too,” Ott said. “I told the boys I didn’t think I was going to score today, not even in this tournament. But you know, things happen, the goal is not for me but for the boys and for the country.”
“I’m very happy, it was a well earned, hard-fought victory,” said American Samoa’s coach Larry Mana’o. “Tonga was tough, very hard to break down. They are a very good team so I’m very happy.”
American Samoa found themselves in a tough situation after Tonga’s Sione Uhatahi scored in the 47th minute.
“I think we knew that teams are susceptible in the first few minutes after a goal, and we’ve been working on that,” Larry said. “We’ve been behind now in both games, but it shows real character for us to just push through and to find a way to get a result out of this game. I’m very proud of them.”
With a second straight loss a possibility, American Samoa finally broke through after a long shot from Justin Mana’o in the 49th minute. Two minutes later the captain scored the game winner to complete the game’s final tally.
“When Tonga score(d), I told the boys it wasn’t happening today, Tonga wasn’t winning today,” Ott recalled.
“What a way, I mean, the captain getting a goal like that,” Mana’o said.
Now it’s on to the last game for American Samoa, against group leaders Cook Islands. The latter has six points from two wins, the latest a 1-0 result versus Samoa. In 2011 American Samoa drew 1-1 with Cook Islands.
“We needed this win, now we’ve got to come back hungrier than 2011 and we have to come out shooting (against Cook Islands),” Ott said.
“Cook Islands is very organized and they have some great talent,” Mana’o pointed out. “We’ll have to be disciplined and stay organized as well against them.”
The game is schedule for Sept. 4, 2015 at Loto-Tonga Soka Centre.

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