SPORTS

New Zealand, Solomons lead

Solomon Islands romped to a 5-1 victory over New Caledonia while New Zealand squeezed past Tahiti 3-2 as the pair edged ahead of their peers after Match Day 2 action
11 Feb 2016 14:10
New Zealand,  Solomons lead
Members of the Kurukuru Futsal team celebrate one of Coleman Makau’s goal. Photo: OFC

Solomon Islands romped to a 5-1 victory over New Caledonia while New Zealand squeezed past Tahiti 3-2 as the pair edged ahead of their peers after Match Day 2 action at the 2016 OFC Futsal Championship.

The second match up was one of the key deciders on who moves closer to the top of the table, and whose dreams of qualification take a knock when Solomon Islands took on New Caledonia.

Once again, the first goal came within the first three minutes of the game, as George Stevenson powered home the ball to open the scoring for Solomon Islands. The defending champions certainly looked worthy of that title with their performance as they made the Francophones work for every second with the ball.

However it was a tense affair with New Caledonia picking up two cautions over the course of the game, and Solomons coming close themselves.

“At half-time we had a conversation there for us to manage ourselves better, because in the first half we got five faults, and five faults very quickly,” Kurukuru coach Juliano Schmeling says.

“So in the second-half we tried to manage it better, but I’m happy for the boys and for the performance.”

There was a hint of disappointment on the New Caledonia side, but coach William Bret also had only nice things to say about the heart in his side’s performance.

“Solomon Islands has an incredible amount of experience and that’s what won the game today,” he says.

Once again, concentration and slow starts to the game from one side resulted in an early goal, with Kareem Osman able to put the Futsal Whites ahead well inside the five minute mark.

It only got worse for Tahiti as less than two minutes later Stephen Ashby-Peckham was tapping in a second for the Kiwis. New Zealand’s defence withstood an incredibly amount of pressure from the Tahitians who, once settled on the court, were fighting to claw their way back into the encounter.

Tahiti pulled a second goal back through the diminutive Heimana Faarahia, and although they continued to come close, it wasn’t enough to even walk away with a point.

“I don’t regret using this tactic at all. Every match in this competition is decisive and whether it’s 1-0 or 10-0 it’s still a loss. So we went for it and got to 2-1 but unfortunately it also meant we conceded the third goal,” Tahiti coach Jacob Tutavae says.

For New Zealand coach Scott Gilligan it’s a pleasing victory that saw his side show it’s true character.

“When Tahiti started playing the fifth man, which they did quite a lot, and with the slippery court, we have to move but they don’t have to quite as much so it was dangerous and we nearly copped one at the end because of it,” Gilligan says.

Source: OFC

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