Photo Credit: OFC Media via Phototek
Four first-half goals and a quick-fire hat-trick from Anicet Jiako sent New Caledonia through to the Play-off for 5th place with a comfortable victory over Tonga.
After defeat to Tahiti and the bitter disappointment of missing out on a semi-final place, New Caledonia came out of the traps with purpose and intent, playing most of the opening stages with an extra outfield player, forgoing a goalkeeper.
3 minutes were on the clock when Ridge Ue took advantage of some slack Tongan defending to give his side the lead.
Emmanuel Hmaen showed outstanding composure to check back onto his left foot and finish smartly to double the lead, before Jymaël Upa added a third to put the New Caledonians in complete control.
A couple of minutes before half-time and it was four – Adolphe Warekaicane with an excellent drilled effort from distance that flashes past goalkeeper Semisi Otukolo.
The match was put to bed early in the second-half when Anicet Jiako notched an incredible 3 minute hat-trick, putting to bed any hopes of a Tongan fightback.
Upa grabbed his second and New Caledonia’s 8th heading into the final few minutes. Not to be outdone, Nicolas Foubert contributed to the scoresheet with a rasping effort that dipped under the goalkeeper.
Captain Christopher Cawa and Stevens Guillemai added two extra scores to put a cap on proceedings late on.
New Caledonia: 11 (Ridge UE 3′, Emmanuel HMAEN 9′, Jymaël UPA 15′, 33′, Adolphe WAREKAICANE 17′, Annicet JIAKO 24′, 26′, 27′, Nicolas FOUBERT 35′, Christopher CAWA 29′, Stevens GUILLEMAIN 30′)