New Caledonia fired themselves to a 3-2 victory over hosts Tahiti in the second test of the three match international futsal friendlies being held in Papeete this week.
Wednesday night’s match followed an opening 2-1 win for the home side on Monday, and was a much livelier outing than the first game with a plethora of goal scoring opportunities.
It took a full 16 minutes of play before anyone managed to net a goal however, with Vincent Diainville the man whose shot finally found the back of the net. But it remained the only goal of the first half.
Tahiti came into the second half with a lot more life in them and started creating some great collective sequences. Smith Tino and Tane Tave showed off their individual talent but it was actually Teivarii Kaiha whose shot from distance proved unstoppable.
What followed was a tough period for New Caledonia’s goalkeeper before Les Cagous countered with speed to take the lead back in the 26th minute.
The Aito Arii came very close to another equaliser in the 27th minute as a Caledonian defender headed clear off the line before Ariihau Teriitau fired the follow up just wide of the post.
With two minutes to go, player-coach Jacob Tutavae adopted the flying keeper giving Tahiti an additional body on attack, but the risky move does leave teams vulnerable at the back.
This proved the case as New Caledonia intercepted a pass and Chris Pei scored into an empty goal.
Tahiti pulled one last goal back as Smith Tino scored a penalty but New Caledonia had already sealed the victory.
Tutavae said although the Aito Arii lost the match, of the two friendlies played so far the second was his preferred.
“Strangely, I absolutely preferred the second match even if we finished with a loss. It was in this second game that I could see how we play.
“We won the first match because they didn’t score, but I felt that they were slightly stronger. I asked the players to show who we are, that we win because we are Aito Arii,” Tutavae said.
“We showed who we were thanks to around 15 chances, unfortunately tonight we only put two away. In the future we need to align the way we play with the result we want.
“Monday we got the result, today (Wednesday) was the style, and Friday we will try to put the two together.”
The final match of the series between Tahiti and New Caledonia will be played Friday evening at Fautaua at 8pm.