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Tahiti U-15 in Guadeloupe

The U-15 National Cup preliminary involved French territories Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique and Tahiti, with the top side going on to qualify for the next phase.
Tahiti won just one of their three matches at the tournament held in Guadeloupe from February 14-16 but showed they could hold court with the best of them.
Their first match saw them come up against hosts and tournament favourites Guadeloupe. The locals dominated the match and had a number of occasions to take the lead, but were thwarted time and again by a well-organised Tahitian defence.
The second half saw the Guadeloupians reduce the pressure on the visitors somewhat, allowing Tahiti to press forward and attack. Despite a stand-out performance from keeper Vaiarii Halligan, the hosts finally broke through five minutes from time to win 1-0.
Day two had Tahiti coming up against Martinique who in their first match had beaten Guyana 2-0. In the match preceding Guyana beat Guadeloupe 3-2, which gave the young Tahitians a glimmer of hope.
That was soon dashed when Martinique took just four minutes to score. A shot from 30 metres out went soaring into the top right corner of Halligan’s goal. A moment of inattention from Tahiti’s defence allowed Martinique to score their second of the match.
The Tahitians had an excellent chance to come back when Heirauarii Salem sent a powerful shot at the goal. The ball hit the crossbar and fell at the feet of Michel Maihi who could only watch as it passed through his legs.
Martinique scored their third after Halligan was wrong-footed by a strike. Tahiti were able to reduce the lead with a goal by Romualdo Kohumoetini, however it was too little too late with the match concluding at 3-1.
In their final match Tahiti came up against Guyane, who had a win and a defeat in the tournament so far. In the first 15 minutes the Tahitians made sure Guyana would have to work hard to take a win.
Tahiti kept possession, playing a passing game that had their opponents on the run and allowing them to go into the half-time break locked at 0-0.
They continued in the same manner in the second half with Salem able to get several shots on target but that was as close as either side came to scoring in regular time.
It came down to a penalty shoot-out to separate the two teams and Tahiti took the honours winning 4-3 and earning their first win of the tournament.
Coach Tiatoa Tumaragi says while the side came away from the tournament with just two points from one win, the experience of having encountered teams of a higher level to those which they are used to is of huge benefit to the side’s future progress.
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf

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