OFC: The 2004 OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament reached its halfway point with an intriguing night of football at both match venues in round three action on Sunday.
Over in Sydney, Group A produced the first upset of the tournament when Samoa stunned the highly rated Solomon Islands 1-0 at Marconi Stadium, while in Auckland, New Zealand were held scoreless in the second half en route to a lacklustre 2-0 win over the gallant Tongans.
For both Samoa and Tonga, it was arguably one of their best performances in international football. Samoa’s historic win over the Solomon Islands is certainly the tiny island nation’s best ever result since becoming a FIFA member in 1986.
Round four action action on Tuesday will see Australia return from a bye to take on the Solomon Islands while Samoa faces Fiji without their star striker Richmond Des Faaiuaso who is suspended after recieving his second yellow card of the tournament. Fiji is out to improve their goal difference and will provide the superb Samoan defence with their greatest test thus far.
New Zealand has the bye for round four in Group B with Tonga taking on the Cook Islands and Vanuatu up against American Samoa. Vanuatu will look to overtake New Zealand on goal difference in their match which will likely set the scene for an epic battle between the two teams to decide the group in the final round on Thursday.
Group A host Australia will play Fiji in what should be the deciding game for that group in the final round. The two group winners will play off home and away on 26 and 30 January 2004.
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