Solomon Football > News > FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Stage 3 > Tahiti get off mark with first Stage 3 win

Tahiti get off mark with first Stage 3 win

The home side took advantage of a much-changed Solomon Islands line-up to earn their first victory of the campaign thanks to a Donovan Bourebare free kick in the 28th minute and a late strike from captain Nicolas Vallar.
The win is an ideal confidence booster for coach Eddy Etaeta and his charges, who were desperate to gain some momentum ahead of their impending appearance at June’s FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil, where they will take on a trio of top-class sides in Spain, Uruguay and Nigeria.
The French territory had earned the right to take part in the prestigious tournament by becoming the kings of the Pacific at the Nations Cup last year in Solomon Islands but have suffered a dramatic fall from grace in the intervening months, failing to pick up points from any of their four Stage 3 games to sit at the bottom of the four-team ladder.
Tonight’s victory would therefore have come as a great relief to Etaeta, although he will be fully aware of the need to improve further by the time his men board a plane bound for Brazil in just under three months’ time.
An inexperienced Solomon Islands side was always going to find the going tough against the champions of Oceania and their tall order became even harder to achieve when midfielder Bourebare put Tahiti ahead just before the half-hour mark.
Due to financial constraints, only 13 players had travelled to Papeete for Solomon Islands and coach Jacob Moli was among those forced to stay at home, leaving the coaching reigns to captain Henry Fa’arodo.
The Team Wellington playmaker and fellow talisman Benjamin Totori were the only players in the squad with senior international experience and, despite the youthful exuberance of the debutants, the Bonitos could not get back into the game as they searched for their second win of the campaign.
The pacy Totori, who has seen little action in the A-League recently with Wellington Phoenix, had a chance to haul Solomon Islands level in the 35th minute but couldn’t find the target while Steevy Chong Hue had two chances to extend Tahiti’s lead in quick succession just before the break but couldn’t take advantage of either of them.
After the restart, Yannick Vero could also have made the game safe for the Tahitians in the 69th minute but was denied by an outstanding save from Solomon Islands goalkeeper Sammy Osso. Tahiti did finally make sure all three points would be secured when skipper Vallar led by example with just under ten minutes remaining to beat Osso from distance.
The encounter was the second game of match day five of Stage 3 and came a day after New Zealand confirmed they would be the nation moving on to the intercontinental play-offs for a place at Brazil 2014 by beating New Caledonia 2-1.
The final round of Stage 3 takes place on Tuesday 26 March with Solomon Islands hosting New Zealand in Honiara and Tahiti travelling to Noumea for the francophone derby against New Caledonia.

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