Tahiti have booked a semi-final showdown with New Caledonia after a confident quarter-final win over Tonga at the OFC U-17 Championships 2023 in Suva, Fiji.
Titouan Guillemant scored two and provided two assists in a 5-0 victory at HFC Bank Stadium which sees the Tama Ura safely through to the final four.
Tahiti thrashed Tonga 13-0 the last time these two sides met at this age group competition back in 2015 and Lui Muavesi set up his side to avoid a similar defeat on this occasion.
Tonga’s determined defensive unit did well at times to hold Tahiti at bay, frustrating them for much of the opening period and even had the first shot on goal, albeit a tame attempt from Maloni Manu’olevao.
However, Tahiti continued to probe and eventually broke the Tongan resolve when Dylan Hutia side-footed Ariiheivarau Tama’s cross beyond Siosiua Moimoi from close-range.
Moimoi then had a moment to forget as Tahiti doubled their lead. The otherwise impressive stopper spilled Hikutini Tamarii’s powerful delivery into the path of Guillemant who rolled the ball into an empty net for his first of the game.
Tonga’s goalkeeper then produced three top saves to deny Guillemant, Keanan Faure and Turerearii Vonbalou before the latter pair scored two carbon-copy goals to put the game out of sight.
On both occasions Guillemant was the provider, timing his run perfectly to deliver a cross that took Moimoi out of the equation leaving first Faure, and then substitute Vonbalou, to tap into an unguarded goalmouth.
Guillemant then completed a fine personal performance by slotting home a close-range effort in added time to complete his brace as Tahiti cruised into the next round.
New Caledonia, who earlier today beat Samoa 4-0 in the first quarter-final, await in the semis on Wednesday, January 25 with Tahiti hoping to defeat their rivals and reach their third final in this competition.
TAHITI 5 (Dylan HUTIA 18′, Titouan GUILLEMANT 32′, 90+4′ Keanan FAURE 68′, Turerearii VONBALOU 79′)