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Tiki Toa struggle against Japan

Tahiti’s national beach soccer team were beaten 5-2 and 5-1 in two recent international friendlies against Japan on Okura Beach.

Tahiti are getting their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup preparations underway early.

For Japan the Tiki Toa proved the perfect opponent to help them prepare for their upcoming appearance at the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam.

The two heavy defeats are a black mark for Tahiti who finished runners-up at the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup to hosts Portugal.

However management are not concerned given the side was missing first choice keeper Jonathan Torohia as well as attacker Raimana Li Fung Kuee.

The matches also marked the debuts of Tunui Pihaatae, who recently spent two months training in Switzerland, as well as Gervais Chan Kat who made a strong contribution to the Tiki Tama campaign last season.

The first of the two matches started well for the visiting Tahitians when Tearii Labaste opened the scoring for his side in the fifth minute.

A short time later Japan equalised before quickly taking the lead with a stunning shot from 30 metres out. Despite starting the match well the Tahitian side conceded three goals in the first half to go into the break 3-1.

The second half looked like it might pick up for the visitors when Marama Amau found the back of the net. Labaste came close to netting an equaliser in the 18th minute but the ball rebounded back into play off the upright.

However after an impressive passage of play the Tiki Toa soon found their opponents scoring twice more and the match started to seem out of their reach.

In the second friendly, Japan found it a lot harder to break down the Tahitian defence and it wasn’t until the 20th minute of the match that a shot came off the framework and into the path of Akaguma who had no trouble slotting in behind Franck Revel.

The second goal for Japan was the result of a rapid counter attack after Tunui Pihaata hit the post allowing Japan to break.

Two further goals for Japan came early in the final third before Heimanu Taiarui’s scissor kick effort from 9m out had the opposition keeper beaten in the 30th minute.

A foul from Teva Zaveroni in the last remaining seconds of the match saw Tahiti concede a fifth goal – a penalty kick converted by Ozu Moreira, ending the match at 5-1.

Japan coach Marcelo Mendes was delighted at the result for his side.

“It was a huge result for us to beat the World Cup runners-up Tahiti,” the former UAE boss said.

“We played two very good games and really deserved the results in front of our supporters – it gave us confidence going into the Asian Beach Games, which is our next challenge.”

For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf

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