A Roonui Tehau header, delivered to him via a corner kick from his brother and captain Teaonui, 111 minutes into a gruelling encounter at Stade Pater in Tahiti booked AS Vénus a ticket to the Oceania Champions League 2022 finals stage on Tuesday evening (Tahiti local time).
After a scoreless 90 minutes – which featured classy goalkeeping from both sides along with some desperate last-ditch defending – the two French Polynesian heavyweights ventured deep into extra time before Tehau nodded home the winning goal and ensured Vénus advance to the final eight of the region’s flagship club competition.
In a match full of drama, and robust challenges, Pirae had their skipper Jonathan Tehau sent from the field seven minutes into extra time after he took his opposing captain down off the ball on the halfway line.
Earlier Vénus had dominated possession through the opening exchanges and given Pirae keeper Francois Decoret plenty to do inside the opening half hour in particular.
But arguably the busiest man on the field through the opening 45 minutes was referee Teremoana Roihau, who had to intervene on a number of occasions as the physical challenges from both sides came in thick and fast.
Despite having less of the ball, Pirae showed glimpses of their ability on the break by creating a couple of good chances off counter attacks.
Just before the hour mark Benoit Mathon was played in with a long ball down the right wing and despite the forward slipping as he went to shoot, he managed to regather and cross, unfortunately right to a looming Vénus defender who promptly cleared the ball.
The Pirae faithful in attendance at Stade Pater were given a big scare in the first minute of added time when two Vénus players got through on goal, only to be called back for offside.
Tehotu Gitton then saved the day for Pirae with a last-ditch header off the line after Teaonui Tehau had chipped Decoret.
But they were powerless to stop the Vénus winner a short time later.
Teaonui Tehau dropped his corner into the middle of the box, missing the stationary defenders, with the ensuing bounce popping up perfectly for little brother Roonui to head into the back of the net.
AS Pirae 0
AS Vénus 1 (Roonui Tehau 111’)
After extra time