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Rain fails to stem goal flow in Tahiti

Evaristo Kapalu in action against New Caledonia (Phototek)

It was raining goals at a wet and windy Parc Aorai Tini Hau in Papeete on Match Day 3 of the OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup as Bilikiki marched on towards the title decider before Vanuatu and New Caledonia turned on the entertainment in a 21 goal thriller.

Solomon Islands  7 : 1 Tonga

After Tahiti’s aerial superiority destroyed Tonga’s inexperienced defence yesterday, Solomon Islands provided an alternative attacking threat today via a strong ground passing and dribbling game.

Excellent combination play between Allen Farobo and Thompson Peter, followed by a surging Peter run, set up James Naka for Bilikiki’s opener in the seventh minute, and Peter had the second moments later after some good work from Max Fa’ari.

A composed Naka laid on the third back-post finish of the opening period – this time for Fa’ari – and Solomon Islands went to the first break three goals to the good.

In the second period, Naka’s shot was parried into the net by Tongan goalkeeper Alimoni Kaufusi to make it four, before the hard-working Tevita Havili also turned Anthony Talo’s shot into his own net.

Tonga then found a stunning, albeit fortuitous response. Solomon Islands goalkeeper Abraham Bird’s long range effort struck Tongan defender Pitasoni Ulavalu and the deflection sailed over the hapless keeper’s head into the net, and Makamione Loni’s side had their second goal of the tournament.

A further goal from Fa’ari made it 6-1 at the two-thirds mark.

A determined Tonga then rolled out their most impressive third of the tournament. A much-improved and determined Tau Tahi, fought for every ball and conceded just once, when Solomon Islands skipper Roy Mafane finished off Naka’s cross.

Solomon Islands left the sand somewhat frustrated. By contrast, the defeated Tongans departed a stormy Parc Aorai Tini Hau with pride and a growing confidence that should hold them in good stead for the remainder of the tournament.

Vanutau 14 : 7 New Caledonia

The first meeting between the Melanesian rivals since 2013 was always going to be an open and high scoring affair, but today’s 21 goal extravaganza defied all expectations.

The lively Joseph Athale opened the scoring for New Caledonia in the third minute, but Vanuatu replied with three of their own in the next three minutes – courtesy of Don Masale, Loic Boulet and Evaristo Kapalu.

Les Cagous closed the gap when Athale grabbed his second, but Vanuatu went to the break with a three goal advantage thanks to assured finishes from Antonio Malapa and Octav Meltecoin.

Wilson Marango’s men took total control in the second period with five unanswered goals from Reece Tasip, Harison Massing, a second from Kapalu and two further strikes from the impressive Boulet.

New Caledonia skipper Patrick Diake attempted to haul his side back into the game with two goals to end a thrilling second stanza.

Amy Antoine Roine’s header gave Les Cagous a flicker of hope at the start of the third period before Vanuatu extinguished any chance of a comeback with goals from Johndas Thomas, Mansale and Meltecoin.

To their credit, Felix Tagawa’s side fought until the end, finding the net on two further occasions. Athale completed his hat-trick with a supeb volley straight from a kick off, and Georges Wakanumune slid the ball home at the back post to bring some respectability to the scoreline.

Vanuatu had the last say however, when Boulet nabbed his fourth and Vanuatu’s fourteenth to conclude an unforgettable encounter.

New Caledonia will be looking to pick up their first points of the week when they face an improving Tonga in Thursday’s aperitif, before the blockbuster clash between top of the table Solomon Islands and regional beach soccer giants Tahiti.


Upcoming Matches

Thursday, 20 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 14:00
LIVE STREAM : http://bit.ly/2Is3GYU

Thursday, 20 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 16:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2Kt8K1u


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