Following an enthralling and absorbing day at Port Vila’s Korman Stadium, Tahiti have booked their place in Saturday’s final of the OFC Youth Development Tournament by edging past UEFA representatives Estonia to top Group A.

Meanwhile India proved far too strong for Group B rivals New Caledonia to set up a historic inter-Confederation decider befitting the inaugural competition.

Estonia 0-1 Tahiti

With a place in Saturday’s title decider on offer Tahiti showed plenty of composure from the outset, dominating possession by neatly passing the ball at the back during the early exchanges.

Estonia were pressing high without the ball, trying to put pressure on the Tahitian defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit the Europeans’ options to counterattacks.

Playing out from the back, Vatea Terai’s men were looking to connect with target-man Ariiura Labaste but Estonia skipper Ralf-Sander Suvinomm, at the center of his team’s defence, had little trouble defusing the searching long balls and crosses aimed at the Tahitian striker.

Neither side was able to create a clear goalscoring opportunity until the 39th minute when Daniel Fedotov latched onto a long ball from well inside his own half to find himself clear on goal.

With only the keeper to beat, Anapa Debruyne rushed out of his line to produce a crucial diving block and keep the scores level.

The Europeans finished the first half stronger with Aleksander Iljin managing a shot on target from the edge of the box in the final noteworthy action of the opening period.

Just two minutes into the second half Fedorov nodded home from close range but Estonian celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s flag for offside.

Andres Opers’ troops looked the more likely to break the deadlock with Fedorov and Iljin linking up to wreak havoc as the Estonians started to assert their dominance.

Against the run of play however, Tahiti have found themselves ahead in the 76th minute, thanks to a penalty for a foul by Ivan Timofejev on Danji Kaiha inside the Estonian box.

Tahitian skipper Tehauarii Holozet showed nerves of steel as he stepped up to convert by smashing the ball into the roof of the net.

Estonia came close to levelling the scores in the 84th minute through a header that bounced off the New Caledonian crossbar and the subsequent rebound attempt cleared off the line amidst some frantic goalmouth scramble.

With time running out Tahiti were reduced to 10-man after Tanaoa Hioe received his marching orders from the referee, but despite 6 additional minutes of injury time the Tahitians held their nerves to hold onto a historic win and a spot in the weekend’s title decider.

 India 4-1 New Caledonia

Vatea Terai’s troops will face India in the final after the Asian representatives brushed aside New Caledonia in the decisive match for Group B honours.

There was a good pace to the second match on Match Day 3 with both sides showing their attacking intent from the outset.

Despite some quick and accurate passes from both sets of players, neither side was able to establish dominance over the midfield during the early stages which made for an end-to-end, open encounter.

Following a wasteful display in their opening match against Vanuatu, India coach Floyd Pint urged his team to be more clinical in the final third.

An his players responded the best possible way by converting their first meaningful opportunity when  their impressive playmaker Ninthoinganba Meetei  put the ball on a platter for Vikram Partap to tap into the empty net from close range in the 17th minute.

The growing threat posed by the combination between Meetei and Partap kept Les Cagous guessing for the remainder of the half before the Asians dealt a lethal blow in the 41st minute after Ricky Shabong headed down for Aman Chetri to slot home to make it 2-0.

New Caledonia had no option but to attack after the break while India looked happy to sit back to protect their lead and wait for their turn on the counter.

Their patience paid off in the 74th minute with Shabong getting on the scoresheet thanks to a clinical finish from inside the box before Gurkirat Singh added another from the penalty spot five minutes later.

To their credit Felix Tagawa’s men fought till the end and they were rewarded with a  consolation goal in the 83rd minute courtesy of another penalty converted by  Lues Waya.

The 4-1 result means India will play Tahiti in Saturday’s final, while Les Cagous face Estonia for the third place.

Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea will be playing for pride by avoiding the wooden spoon. 

Final Match Day 
5th/6th Play-off
Saturday, 24 August
Korman Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu
KO: 11:00 (local)

3rd/4th Play-off
Saturday, 24 August
Korman Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu
KO: 14:00 (local)

Saturday, 24 August
Korman Stadium, Port Vila, Vanuatu
KO: 17:00 (local)

Further information from:
OFC Media Department | T +649 531 5961 | F +649 529 5143 | E [email protected]