New Caledonia have finished third at the OFC U-19 Championship 2022 with a penalty shootout victory over host naton Tahiti at Stade Pater in Papeete.
Goalkeeper Macané Honakoko was the hero for the winners, making crucial penalty saves both in regulation time and the shootout to earn victory after the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Tahiti took the lead against the run of play. Kamalani Bennett’s drive into the box was illegally halted by Tyeou Boano and Bennett dusted himself off to slot home the penalty to break the deadlock.
New Caledonia remained the better team and moments later thought they had equalised when Claude Forest’s effort rebounded down off the crossbar and came perilously close to crossing the line.
Next it was Tahiti’s turn to hit the woodwork, Herehau Bennett’s drive and shot cannoning off the near post just before half-time.
Just as they did in the opening period, New Caledonia came out strong at the start of the half, with Willy Read twice denied by goalkeeper Keahinui Heinis.
Tahiti were then given the chance to wrap up the game, once again from from the penalty spot. However, Honakoko made up for conceding the spot-kick by saving Matai Papaura’s attempt.
Just minutes later and Pierre Wajoka’s men capitalised on the penalty save, Paul Jone hammering home a sweet strike from the edge of the box to level the scoring.
Mathis Boube nearly won the game for the hosts when his volley ricocheted off the base of the post but the score remained 1-1 after 90 minutes.
That meant penalties and after trading misses with their first attempts each it went to sudden death where Honakoko made his second penalty save of the day to deny Jason Malakai.
Tyeuo Boano then scored the winner to earn New Caledonia a third-place finish while hosts Tahiti will be ruing penalty misses both in normal time and in the shootout.
New Caledonia U-19 1 (Paul JONE 74′)
Tahiti U-19 1 (Kamalani BENNETT 18′ pen)
New Caledonia win 5-4 on penalties.