Nz And Solomons Record Vital Wins
New Zealand and the Solomon Islands were the big winners from the other matches, with the pair to fight it out for the second spot in the Nations Cup and World Cup play-off games.
New Zealand v Tahiti New Zealand has barely raised a sweat in defeating a hapless Tahitian side 10-0 at the Marden Sports Complex today. The All Whites were untroubled throughout the ninety minutes by the dismal Polynesian side, which have now gone more than four matches without hitting the back of the net - the most barren run in their history. Goals to the Kiwis came from Vaughan Coveny and Brent Fisher (pictured right), who each netted a hat trick, as well as Duncan Oughton, Neil Jones and captain Ryan Nelsen who helped himself to a brace. The hefty win is priceless to the reigning OFC champs, who, save for a some monumental upsets, will confirm their passage through to the next stage with a win in their final match. Tahiti-s performance was nothing short of abysmal and raised doubts as to their worth in a tournament that they have played out in a lethargic and apathetic manner. Former South Melbourne striker Coveny-s opener on seven minutes effectively opened the floodgates for the Kiwi-s, who will no doubt have their depleted team morale boosted by such an emphatic win. The Tahitians came closest to breaking their dire goal drought in the latter stages of the second half when midfielder Farahia Teuira launched a speculative free kick from forty metres that rattled the crossbar. Aside from this moment, Tahiti were lucky to venture outside of their half and were equally as fortunate not to concede more goals to the hungry New Zealand attack. Kiwi coach Mick Waitt will look favourably upon performances from front pairing Fisher and Coveny, who have now registered ten goals between them in the tournament thus far. New Zealand: 1. Mark Paston (gk), 2. Duncan Oughton, 4. Steven Old, 5. Che Bunce (12. Simon Elliott 45-), 6. Tony Lochhead, 8. Aaran Lines (11. Leo Bertos 35-), 13. Brent Fisher, 14. Ryan Nelsen, 15. Michael Wilson, 16. Vaughan Coveny (19. Neil Jones 65-), 17. Raf De Gregorio Bookings: Fisher 44- Goals: Coveny 6-, 38-, 46-+, Fisher 16-, 22-, 63-, Jones 72-, Oughton 74-, Nelsen 82-, 87- Tahiti: 20. Xavier Samin (gk), 2. Angelo Tchen, 3. Pierre Kugogne, 7. Samuel Garcia (11. Taufa Neuffer 45-), 10. Axel Temataua, 12. Farahia Teuira, 13. Vincent Simon, 14. Rino Moretta (4. Iouta Kautai 79-), 15. Larry Marmouyet, 16. Felix Tagawa, 18. Georges Pittoeff (5. Jean Yves Li Waut 69-) Bookings: Tagawa 60-, Temataua 82-, Samin 87- Referee: Mark Shield (Australia) Fiji v Solomon Islands The Solomon Islands World Cup juggernaut continued tonight, following their 2-1 win over Melanesian rivals Fiji at Hindmarsh Stadium. After going to the break at 1-1, thanks to goals from Paul Kakai for the Solomons and Veresa Toma for Fiji, defender Mahlon Houkarawa (pictured on ground)proved to be the hero for the Solomons after his late winner ended Fiji-s World Cup dream. The Solomons are now just 90 minutes away from realizing what was assumed an impossibility all of a week ago. Kakai-s opener arrived on 16 minutes, when the daunting midfielder was on hand to finish off a messy Solomons attacking movement. Kakai needed two attempts to slam home what was a precious lead to the Solomons, after the Fijians failed to clear a potentially dangerous opportunity. The Solomons joy was short lived however, as within five minutes, giant Fijian forward Toma had Tony Buesnel-s men back on level terms. Toma was the beneficiary of a well-weighted pass from speedster Salesh Kumar that evaded the Solomons defense to land on the chest of the former Singaporean based marksman. Like the goal before his, Toma needed two efforts to draw his side level and the scores remained the same until half time. After the break, the tension and drama of what Solomon Islands coach Alan Gillett labelled the ‘England versus Scotland- encounter of the south pacific came to fore as both sides came within inches of stealing a vital victory. The Fijians best chance came midway through the half when Solomons- keeper Felix Ray felled goal scorer Toma in the penalty area. Whilst referee Harry Attison waved play on, the ever-growing crowd on hand was divided in their opinion of whether Toma and Ray-s clash warranted a penalty. Some suggested Ray was lucky to escape a sending off, while others testified to Toma being equally as fortunate to avoid a similar fate for simulation, having picked up a caution earlier in the match. Regardless, the Solomons clinical nous won over in the end when Houkarawa posted his first goal of the campaign, much to the delight of an ecstatic Solomons bench. Houkarawa was on hand to poke home the remnants of a Batram Suri free kick that had struck the framework, sending the Fijian defense into a panic. Within seconds, the Solomons defender had the ball in the back of the net in what may later prove to be the most important goal scored by the Solomon Islands in their modest history. Although not entirely pleased with the performance of his team, Gillett looked an enthusiastic man at the post match press conference with one eye looking towards a possible stage three berth. “Well, at the moment, having just sat through that 90 minutes, where I think Tony-s side had the better portion of it, I haven-t even thought about Sunday,” was Gillett-s frank admission. “Really, we got out of jail at times. “When they trained this morning, they were really quiet and I said to Eddie Ngava, who is the technical director, ‘what-s going on?-, and he said ‘you-ve got to realize this is the biggest game for them, because it-s like the England/Scotland game,- and I said, ‘well that-s not a big game because we always beat them-,” concluded the affable Englishman. Fiji coach Buesnel was despondency personified at the final whistle. “That game, was the most important game of this tournament,” said a disappointed Buesnel after the match. “We could go from second to fifth with that and what we now have to do is a service to ourselves and to our fellow islanders by trying to just go out there and do our very best against New Zealand. “To be quite honest, I-m devastated at the result.” Fiji: 23. Laisiasa Gataurua (gk), 2. Lorima Dau, 5. Emosi Baleinuku, 7. Malakai Kainihewe (6. Jone Vesikula 82-), 9. Thomas Vulivuli, 10. Veresa Toma (22. Waisake Sabutu 89-), 12. Esala Masi, 13. Taniela Waqa, 15. Salesh Kumar, 16. Viliame Toma, 17. Seveci Rokotakala (21. Pene Erenio 86-) Bookings: Rokotakala 41-, Veresa Toma 55- Goals: Veresa Toma 21- Solomon Islands: 1. Felix Ray (gk), 2. Leslie Leo, 3. Mahlon Houkarawa, 6. Nelson Sale, 7. Alick Maemae, 10. Batram Suri, 11. Commins Menapi, 16. Stanley Waita (14. Jack Samani 51-), 18. Henry Fa-arodo, 19. Paul Kakai Goals: Kakai 16-, Houkarawa 82- Referee: Harry Attison (Vanuatu)