Totori keen to extend lead - Solomon Star News

Totori keen to extend lead

16 April 2018
Benji Totori takes a shot at goal in Lautoka's quarterfinal win over AS Dragon. [Photo Massimo Colombini via OFC]

Veteran Solomon Islands footballer Benjamin Totori says he is determined to extend his top scoring record in the OFC Champions League.

Totori is leading the top scorers tally with 23 goals ahead of Argentinian Emiliano Tade who is closing in behind with 18 goals for Auckland City.

Speaking to Star Sports on Saturday, Totori said he is keen to extend his lead in the two legged home and away tie with Marist FC as Lautoka FC set to host Marist at Churchill Park this weekend in Fiji.

“As a striker I am determined to extend my scoring record in the competition in the later stage of OFC Champions League.

“I respect Marist because they have a strong defence but personally it would be great to continue my scoring record against them,” he said.

Totori stressed he is changing his game style as he is getting older.

“As you can see in most of my past games with Lautoka I have had to change my game a little bit.

“I know my pace is not like my peak years so I have to give and go for space.

“I should have got some goals against AS Dragon with my closest hitting the woodwork,” he explained.

The 32-year-old has made 44 appearances in the OFC Champions League and is by far the leading goal scorer in the Oceania premier international club competition.

When asked on the semi-final two leg tie with Marist, Totori said Lautoka respect their fellow Melanesian opponents.

“Well for us, we respect Marist because they have had a remarkable campaign season in the OFC Champions League.

“They qualified from a tough group which they draw with Team Wellington, a game they should have won.

“Also they overcome Nalkutan FC away from home and they have some good experience players,” he said.

The veteran striker highlighted the vital role fellow compatriots Henry Fa’arodo has had played in inspiring Marist.

“Their skipper, Fa’arodo is still playing at his best so we know important he is to the Marist.

“Abraham Iniga, Joachim Waroi and Koriak Upaiga are also doing great for them,” Totori added.

When asked what it will be like to play against a local side in the semi-finals, Totori stressed he needs to step up his game.

“Like I said, Marist is a good side with a mixture of experience and youth and their record in the O-League is a testament of that.

“So for me I have to step up my game to help my team because like Marist we also want to make it to the final,” he added.

Totori is hopeful for a positive result in the first leg since Fijian teams have a better record against local sides at Churchill Park.

“It will be good to take a good result at Churchill Park because as I can remember our local teams always struggle there.

“We will have the home backing and hopefully we get something from the game before the decider at Lawson Tama a week later,” he said.

 Lautoka host Marist at Churchill Park in Fiji on Sunday April 22 and the return leg is set for Sunday April 29 at Lawson Tama Stadium.