Finals fever for French Polynesia

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This weekend the 2020/2021 football season in French Polynesia will culminate with the finals of the Coupe du Président and the Women’s U-15 Cup finals at Stade Pater in Tahiti.

AS Papara FC and AS Tefana will play for the Women’s U-15 Cup in the opening match of the day at 1pm, followed by AS Dragon and 2018/19 champions AS Pirae for the Coupe du Président 20/21 title at 3pm.

Both matches act as the openers for the final of the Coupe de Polynésie at 6pm which will feature 2018/19 winners AS Venus against the recently crowned 2019/2020 league champions AS Pirae.

AS Pirae are the current holders of the Cup after beating AS Papara in the 2018/19 final at Stade Pater, thanks to the cancellation of the 2019/20 competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pirae, who dominated the Senior Women’s League this season with a full compliment of points from their 14 matches, saw off a spirited effort from the league runners-up AS Te Ui Tefana in the semi-final.

Te Ui Tefana had been on an impressive run to the semi-finals, scoring 38 goals and conceding just four in their three matches leading to the semi-final.

Pirae proved themselves just as efficient in the Cup as they had been in the league, themselves notching an equally impressive 28 goals in two matches (they sat the first round out with a bye) without conceding.

It set up a tasty showdown between the two sides which represent the old guard of the women’s game in Te Ui Tefana, and the emerging generation of talents at Pirae.

It took just 20 minutes for Ninauea Hioe to open the scoring and although Mimosa Marmouyet and her teammates held their opponents out well, they finally broke down the defence late in the second half.

Moorea-native Tahia Tamarii scored two in quick succession to extend Pirae’s lead in the 80th minute and secure her side’s place in the second consecutive final.

In the second semi-final it was Moorea side AS Mira facing down AS Dragon, a youthful side stacked with present and future national representatives.

Two goals in the first 15 minutes from Tahiti international Kohai Mai had Dragon sitting reasonably comfortable in the lead, a third from Omega Chalons aided the side’s cause.

Terauvine Taurua fired one back in the 22nd minute but most of the damage had already been done. Sarah Chalons added a fourth in the 86th minute securing AS Dragon’s place in Coupe du Président final for the first time.

Like Pirae, Dragon played just two matches prior to the semi-final, beating AS Papara 4-1 in the first leg and drawing 3-3 in the second leg of the quarter-finals.

In the Women’s U-15 Cup, eight teams began the competition which would quickly be whittled down to just two – AS Papara and AS Tefana – for Saturday’s final.

With two teams from Moorea making it through to the semi-finals, Maharepa was picked to play host to the two teams from the mainland for the semi-final showdown.

Haranui Le Gayic opened the scoring for the visitors from AS Papara in the 18th minute before Tiare Tahiti’s Hinavainui Malfatti equalised early in the second half. The berth in the final was secured for Papara five minutes later as Turere Tapahururu scored the decisive goal.

Temarii Tapuhute were the next best chance for Moorea to see a team through to the Cup final.

Madeleine Vallet took just four minutes to dampen local spirits with her opening goal and Moored-based fans were left on the edge of their seats before Nanihia Masingue pulled her side level in the 40th minute.

The joy was short-lived for Temarii Tapuhute however, as Vallet notched her brace 10 minutes later, before Shelsy Robson sealed the 3-1 victory.

Unfortunately, the two women’s finals have not been selected for live stream, unlike the men’s Coupe de Polynésie final which follows them at Stade Pater on Saturday.

Make sure you check back in next week to celebrate the results of the two cup finals.

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