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Tahiti and Vanuatu dominate last day of group phase

Patrick Tepa and Georges Wakanumune tossle for the ball Photo credit: OFC Media via Phototek

Vanuatu brushed aside an injury-hit Tau Tahi to warm up for Saturday’s play-off for third place against New Caledonia at the  OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup while hosts Tiki Toa put on an exhibition display against Les Cagous to whet the crowd’s appetite ahead of their highly anticipated title decider showdown against Solomon Islands.

Tonga 3 : 15 Vanuatu

Despite having guaranteed their participation in tomorrow’s third and fourth place play-off, Vanuatu were in no mood to relax on the final day of round-robin play against an injury-depleted Tongan side.

Skipper Don Mansale combined with Octav Meltecoin in the 2nd minute to give his side the lead before Evaristo Kapalu converted a penalty soon after following a foul by Tupou Uhatahi.

Veteran Kilifi Uele, standing in as goalkeeper for Tonga’s two injured glovemen was then beaten in the air by the crafty Mansale, who flicked on Antonio Malapa’s lobbed pass to make it three.

Octav Meltecoin scored Vanuatu’s fourth when he pounced on a rebound after Uele was unable to hold Loic Boulet’s strike.

After the first break, Kapalu scrambled home another for Vanuatu before Uhatahi’s superb volley from the resulting kick off brought the crowd to their feet.

Ivong Wilson nabbed two in quick succession after combining with the impressive Meltecoin, then Boulet kept in the golden boot race with two solo strikes either side of the second break.

Meltecoin’s pass then unleashed Mansale who powered home for his hat-trick, then Meltecoin helped himself to his second, another rebound from another trademark Boulet stinger.

Malapa’s killer ball set up Boulet for Vanuatu’s thirteenth.

But it wasn’t all one-way traffic. Hard working Tau Tahi winger Tevita Havili got his reward for a fine tournament, when he scored directly from a corner kick, beating Alfred Malas at the near post.

Meltecoin then had three goals to go with his three assists when his stunning volley hit the back of the net from the restart.

Seiloni Iaruel became the first goalkeeper to score at the tournament with a well struck long ranger to beat Tonga’s fourth goalkeeper of the tournament, converted forward Penisimani Veikoso.

The biggest cheer, however, was reserved for the final moments, when 16 year old Sione Tutone scored the final goal, and Tonga’s third, with a fine angled drive to close out his country’s first ever participation in a beach soccer tournament.

 New Caledonia 0 : 10 Tahiti

With the shadow of tomorrow’s final in the background, Tahiti rested skipper Raimana Li Fung Kuee and injured Ariihau Teriitau.

Heimanu Taiarui took charge of proceedings immediately with a sensational chest and volley to open the scoring.

Gervais Chan Kat made it two soon after then triple international Teaonui Tehau helped himself to a double, converting decisive passes from Taiarui and Patrick Tepa.

Heiarii Tavanae struck on the counter attack, latching onto Chan Kat’s pass, to give Naea’s Bennett’s side a 5:0 lead at the first break.

New Caledonia were struggling to get near the technically and tactically superior Tiki Toa but enjoyed a much better second period, holding Naea Bennett’s side to just one goal. It may have only been one, but it was a stunner – a perfectly executed scissors kick from man-of-the-match Taiarui.

New Caledonia went close on a couple of occasions, but were constantly thwarted by Tahiti’s goalkeeper duo of Jonathan Torohia and Franck Revel.

The local favourites found their rhythm again when Taiarui volleyed home Torohia’s pass at the beginning of the third period before Tearii Labaste and Patrick Tepa resumed their golden boot race, Labaste picking up two and Tepa one.

Rocky Nyikeine’s brilliant save of Tepa’s penalty in the final moments ensured the Tahitian marksman stayed on 11 goals, just ahead of Labaste (9) and Vanuatu’s Loic Boulet (8).

Upcoming Matches

Friendly Match
Saturday, 22 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 12:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2KDrHi7

3rd/4th Play-offs

Saturday, 22 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 14:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2IxKEAl

Saturday, 22 June
Parc Aorai Tini Hau, Papeete, Tahiti
KO: 16:00
LIVE STREAM: http://bit.ly/2Xri4Jc

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