Oceania Football Confederation > News > OFC Futsal Championship Fiji 2011 > Tahitians and Kurukuru earn shot at World Cup

Tahitians and Kurukuru earn shot at World Cup

Tahiti needed a penalty shoot-out to finally overcome New Zealand after a thrilling 3-3 extra-time draw while the Kurukuru had no such trouble in their comprehensive 13-1 victory over Vanuatu.
There was also an historic moment earlier in the day when newcomers Kiribati earned their first ever win at this competition with a 3-2 success over Tuvalu in the 7th/8th play-off before Fiji pipped New Caledonia to fifth place with an exciting 8-6 triumph.
But the headlines were then stolen by Tahiti and the Solomon Islands, who will now face off tomorrow evening to earn Oceania’s sole spot at the World Cup.
“I don’t know how we have won today, we were quite lucky,” admitted Tahiti coach Heitapu Hunter. “We came sixth last year and now we are in the final – that has always been our dream and it has come true. Anything can happen in a final – I believe you don’t need to think too much, you just have to go for it.”
Hunter’s side had conceded only three goals prior to this match and breaching such a tight rearguard appeared to be the main challenge facing New Zealand coach Matt Chandler and his men. But the Tahitians are not without ability in the attacking third either, a fact the Futsal Whites found out to their cost when a Gaby Kavera goal in the ninth minute had them 1-0 down by the halftime interval.
They were left with an even steeper hill to climb three minutes after the restart when Michel Maihuri put Tahiti two goals ahead.
Daniel Koprivcic finally came up with a response from a Dylan Manickum cross in the 25th minute and New Zealand drew level shortly after when Nathan Robertson swivelled and slipped the ball under goalkeeper Atanui Tetihia in the 29th minute.
Despite both teams putting on plenty of pressure in the remainder of normal time, there was no further score and an extra ten minutes were needed to decide the outcome.
The extra period was just as closely contested as regular time had been but New Zealand managed to find the net again just before the interval when captain Marvin Eakins poked home a Miro Major pass at the far post.
Tahiti were not about to give up their World Cup dream so easily, however, and were back in the game soon after the break, Kavera notching his second to make it 3-3 and set up an exciting finale.
The stage was set for someone to become a hero but one did not emerge at that stage and the result was left to be resolved in the lottery of the penalty shoot-out, during which Tahiti custodian Tetihia became the toast of his team mates with a pair of saves to deny Dylan Manickum and Koprivcic as Tahiti claimed a 4-3 shoot-out win.
“It was just one of those games really,” Chandler said. “We’ve lost by just one penalty shot and you wouldn’t pick a guy like Daniel Koprivcic to be the one to miss. To go out in the semi-final on one penalty is tough but we will have to live with it.”
The margin of victory was nowhere near as slim in the other semi-final as the Kurukuru put on yet another remarkable attacking display to end Vanuatu’s hopes of reaching the final.
The Solomons had won their previous match against Tuvalu 16-0 and, while they were up against a far more accomplished team this evening in Vanuatu, appeared intent on getting close to that figure again. Dickson Kadau’s charges were 8-0 up by halftime and went on to score another five in the second half, to the delight of most of the 2000-plus crowd that crammed into Suva’s Vodafone Arena.
Captain Elliot Ragomo again led by example with a hat-trick but was outdone by Micah Lea’alafa, who scored four. Moffat Sikwa’ae and Coleman Makau attempted to catch up with them but had to settle for doubles while a Jack Wetney strike and an own goal from the unfortunate Ricky Tuigaloa wrapped up the Kurukuru scoring.
Vanuatu’s only response came from Fredy Vava just after halftime and they were never in the contest as the Solomons underlined just how hard it will be for Tahiti to beat them tomorrow.
“I am very proud of my boys, we have worked very hard for this tournament and that is now showing through,” Kadau said. “We played even better than I thought we might – the combinations between our players were at a very high level. We must respect Tahiti because they are very good defensively and we only beat them 1-0 earlier in the tournament. We’ll work on our attacking moves to try to find a way around their system.”
Despite their gut-wrenching losses, the tournament is not over for New Zealand and Vanuatu, who will meet tomorrow evening in the 3rd/4th play-off, a match that effectively acts as the curtain-raiser to the winner-takes-all grand final.
Tuvalu – Kiribati Match Summary click here
New Caledonia – Fiji Match Summary click here
New Zealand – Tahiti Match Summary click here
Solomon Islands – Vanuatu Match Summary click here
Competition Summary click here
Upcoming matches
New Zealand vs Vanuatu
3rd/4th play-off
Friday 20 May, 5pm local time
Vodafone Arena, Suva
Tahiti vs Solomon Islands
Grand Final
Friday 20 May, 7.30pm local time
Vodafone Arena, Suva

Related posts

Comment