Tahiti cruised into the semis with a dominant performance against Tonga while New Zealand overcame home town favourites New Caledonia to conclude the group phase of the OFC Futsal Nations Cup at L’Arena du Sud in Paita.

Elsewhere, defending champions Solomon Islands made it three wins from as many games to top Group B, and Vanuatu notched up their first win of the tournament.

Tahiti 24-2 Tonga

Tahiti needed a win against Group B rivals Tonga in order to secure their passage to the semi-finals and they started with plenty of urgency to race to a two-goal lead following an own goal by Fineasi Palei and a tap-in from Raiamanu Teatauira.

Olivier Hirihiri pounced on a defensive blunder to poke home before Semisi Otukolo put the ball into his own net.

Teaonui Tehau converted from the penalty spot giving Aito Arii a five-goal lead midway through the opening period, David Auti added another before Hirihiri claiming his second of the match with a solo effort.

Auti added to his tally and Teiki Tanata helped himself to an easy tap-in as the rampant Tahitians reached double figures with still five minutes on the clock.

Raiamanu Tetauira finished from a rebound with Antoine Tave contributing next against an increasingly tired looking and dejected Tonga outfit.

There was still time in the final minute for captain Teavarii Kaiha and Hirihiri to grab one each to complete an emphatic first half.

The Tongans did manage to score in both of their previous matches and that pattern continued at the start of the second half courtesy of Laulea Taufa who combined with Polovili for a beautifully constructed goal.

Yann Wong replied with a well-struck strike from distance but Tonga showed more determination after the break with Sione Aho finding the net with a composed finish.

Tehaunui Barsinas, Tehau and skipper Kaiha responded with three goals in quick succession and the Tongans conceded another own goa, this time by Hemaloto Polovili.

Akareva Riaria scored got on the scoresheet, Hirihiri grabbed his fourth and Tanata his second as the Tahitians opened up a 21-2 lead.

Hirihiri wasn’t finished yet and neither Tave before the match ending with another own goal by Otukolo.

Tahiti coach Heifara Deane was pleased with the way his players have negotiated their way into the semis.

“I’m proud of my team, they played well and it was complete, powerful and calm performance. They made it look easy because we had the measure of our opponents and we could concentrate on our own game and on the way we play,” explained Deane.

Despite his side’s heaviest defeat so far in the tournament, Tonga coach Manu Tu’alau was  proud of his players who gave their all over the past three days.

“Everyone can see the boys are not themselves because of their tiredness, but I’m still proud of them and happy with the result because we still made our target of scoring a few goals in every game, so I’m happy with that,” he said.

Vanuatu 10-3 American Samoa

With their pride on the line both sets of players were desperate to notch up their first win of the tournament and Vanuatu drew first blood through the impressive Ronaldo Wilkins who netted twice in quick succession.

Pierre Alick was next on target followed by Sandy Mesau to extend the Melanesians’ lead to four goals but the American Samoans stemmed the flow until Charlie Vano found a way through in the final minute of the first period.

Gabriel Taumoa smashed home from the penalty spot to register American Samoa’s first ever international goal in futsal at the start of the second half.

Tunoa’ Lui’s men suffered a set-back following an injury to inspirational goalkeeper Nicky Salapu.

His replacement Hengihengi Ikuvalu’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net following a well struck drive by Rhydley Napau but the spirited tournament debutants replied courtesy of Takai Pouli’s powerful effort.

Azariah Soromon scored for Vanuatu before Salapu returned to the court to the relief of his teammates.

Both Mesau and Alick grabbed their second of the match before a stunning effort by Austin Kaleopa at the other end for America Samoa’s third goal.

Mesau completed his hat-trick late in the game to seal the win for his side.

“I am happy with the result as our boys stuck to the game plan. We kept our defence tight and when we won the ball we attacked and scored,” said the Vanuatu coach Richard Lehi.

American Samoa coach Tunoa Lui couldn’t hide his delight with his players.

“We knew Vanuatu are one of the powerhouses of futsal in Oceania but we’ve managed to learn from our past games and now that we can see that our boys can attack, it is going to be very useful for us as we try to develop futsal in our country,” he said.

“The boys were tired, they’ve never played three straight games in a row but it’s nice to see they have the fighting spirit and managed to put up a good fight against top teams in Oceania,” added the American Samoa coach.

Solomon islands 3-1 Fiji

Determined to top Group B, defending champions Solomon Islands showed plenty of aggression pressing high from the outset but despite controlling the lion share of the possession the Kurukuru were unable to break down Fiji’s well organised and spirited defence.

The Fijians’ ability to absorb pressure provided them with growing confidence to create genuine scoring opportunities through Seteraki Hughes and Filipe Baravilala on the counter.

Mira Sahib’s game plan paid dividends as Shadil Dave gave Fiji a surprise lead but the Solomons responded almost immediately courtesy of Alvin Hou.

With just over a minute on the clock, James Egeta drove home to give Kurukuru a narrow advantage at the break.

With both sides still well and truly in the contest the game has opened up in the second half with plenty of chances and goalmouth action at both ends.

However, with the two keepers in top form neither side was able to convert their chances until Charlie Otainao finally broke through for the Kurukuru with little over three minutes on the clock.

Solomon Islands grabbed another after Samuel Osifelo chipped from his own goal-line over the head of Fiji keeper Mateisuva, who couldn’t prevent the ball bouncing off him and into the net after rebounding of the post.

Kurukuru coach Vinicius Laite admitted his side had to work hard for the win.

“It seems like all the teams are parking the bus against us and that is creating us some difficulty, forcing us to shoot from mid or long range but we are going to improve on that.,” he said.

“But it’s good that we are able to adapt to that defensive posture and we have put four past Fiji,”

“We are happy with the win, that what we came here for, whether we win 2-1 or 10-1 we get three points, we topped our group and we are ready for the semi-final,” added Laite.

Despite the defeat Fiji coach Mira Sahib was happy with his players’ effort.

“Although the results didn’t go our way, game by game the team has improved and that was the best game we have played in this tournament so far,” he said.

“Our team played really well against the Oceania champions, they were playing with their hearts out, it was encouraging to see,” Sahib added.

New Zealand 4-2 New Caledonia

With both teams already in the semis, Group A supremacy was on offer for the Futsal Whites and Les Cagous in the final group match of the competition.

James Namuli came close to scoring first with a shot that crashed against the post at the end of a swift New Caledonian counter.

The Kiwis’ woodwork was rattled again, this time by Jean-Michel Poadae before the hosts took a deserved lead following a lovely finish from Jean-Philippe Sele.

Micky Malivuk netted for the Futsal Whites by steering home Lucas Silva’s pinpoint pass, followed by a quick brace from skipper Dylan Manickum to give the New Zealanders a 3-1 lead at the break.

Looking to get back into the game Les Cagous pressed high with Namuli, Romain Guitton and Timothee Delaunay causing problems for the Futsal Whites who were restricted to long ball to relieve the pressure.

At the other end Logan Wisnewski smashed his 10-meter penalty attempt against the post, while Marvin Eakins left footed drive hit the crossbar.

New Caledonia keeper Rene Tasman denied Stephen Ashby-Peckham after the Kiwis were awarded another 10-metre penalty and Sele forced a save from Ellias Billeh in the opposite end.

The Futsal Whites did manage to convert their third 10-metre penalty courtesy of Josh Margetts with 22 seconds left on the clock, but there was still enough time for the hosts to reply thanks to Axer Xuma.

The result means New Zealand finished on top of Group A and will face Tahiti in the semis while New Caledonia will need to overcome defending champions Solomon Islands for a spot in the title decider.

New Zealand coach Marvin Eakins couldn’t hide his relief after the hard-fought win.

“We’ve worked really hard in that game, we knew New Caledonia were a fighting team and they played some pretty good tactical futsal, it could have been a much closer scoreline and I’m certainly happy we came out on top,” he said.

“Tahiti is another team we’ve had some good tussles over the years, so that’s going to be a  good physical game, New Caledonia prepared us well to face Tahiti, and we know we have a few things to tidy up before that game,” added the Futsal Whites coach.

Meanwhile Juliano Schmeling was philosophical in defeat.

“It was a great game today, New Zealand can be a great team and for us it’s disappointing because we lost,” Les Cagous coach said.

“At the beginning of the game we’ve had some great moments to score but we didn’t and then they scored three goals in the first half which made it very hard for us, but that’s okay, now we need to prepare for the semi-final because it’s still very open, with four great teams qualified,” he added.

Upcoming Matches

Following a rest day the teams return to Arena du Sud on Friday 1 November f or the 5th to 8th Place Play-Offs and the semi-finals.

Fiji and American Samoa will kick off the day’s action followed by Vanuatu’s meeting with Tonga.

Reigning champions Solomon Islands and hosts New Caledonia will clash for their place in the title decider before New Zealand and Tahiti face each other in Friday’s second semi.

5th to 8th Place Play-Off
Friday, 1 November
Arena du Sud, Paita, New Caledonia
KO: 11:30 (local) .                                                                                                                                                                              LIVE STREAM: https://bit.ly/36ie1QS

5th to 8th Place Play-Off
Friday, 1 November
Arena du Sud, Paita, New Caledonia
KO: 14:00 (local)                                                                                                                                                                                         LIVE STREAM: https://bit.ly/2WrOL6v

Friday, 1 November
Arena du Sud, Paita, New Caledonia
KO: 16:30 (local)                                                                                                                                                                                         LIVE STREAM: https://bit.ly/2otYJrg



Friday, 1 November
Arena du Sud, Paita, New Caledonia
KO: 19:00 (local)                                                                                                                                                                                         LIVE STREAM: https://bit.ly/320Ok3U