Vanuatu have celebrated their National Independence Day by overturning a 1-3 deficit to beat Tahiti 5-3, sealing a place in the OFC Beach Soccer final against the Solomons at Temae Beach this Friday.
Vanuatu captain Seimata Chillia opened scoring, smashing home his team’s first goal early in the first period.
Vanuatu went on to dominate possession and most of the attacking opportunities in the first period.
But early in the second period Tahiti awoke, snatching three goals in two minutes to Raimana Li Fung Kuee, Jean Claude Chang Koei Chang and Teva Zaveroni as Vanuatu looked shell-shocked.
However, Vanuatu began to regather themselves as they pegged one goal back through a fine run and powerful shot from Francois Sakama.
Captain Chillia then drew them level with his second before delivering a poin-point corner for Sakama to chest cleverly into the Tahiti goal for a one goal lead at the end of the second period.
And it was Sakama who completed his hat-trick in the third period, killing off Tahiti’s hopes during an intese final period of play with a powerful shot from a wide angle on the pitch.
Vanuatu coach Richard Iwai was pleased that his team showed greater application to their game plan than previously during their 5-4 overtime win against Fiji on day two.
"I was pleased with how they were playing in the first period but then they started to lose concentration again and as Tahiti took the lead they weren’t playing the formation I told them to."
"At the second period break I told them to stick to the game plan and they did this for the rest of the match, so I was very happy with this. But this was not a perfect game from us today, it was better but I still expect for them to improve against the Solomons in the final."
Vanuatu 5-3 Tahiti (1-0, 1-3, 3-0)
Tahiti: Raimana LI FUNG KUEE 10:14′ (P2); Jean Claude CHANG KOEI CHANG 9:23′ (P2); Teva ZAVERONI 8:18′ (P2);
Vanuatu: Seimata CHILLIA 7:32′ (P1), 10:03′ (P3); Francois SAKAMA 2:55′ (P2), 8:30′, 5:15′ (P3);
Tahiti: 1. Rehia DAVIO; 4. John HOFFMAN; 5. Stephen LEFOC; 6. Kenny NUI; 8. Teva ZAVERONI;
Vanuatu: 1. Chikau MANSALE; 2. Ken MASAUVAKALO; 6. Fredy VAVA; 7. Seimata CHILLIA; 11. Fenedy MASAUVAKALO;