Solomon Islands confirm spot in semi-finals with narrow victory

July 11, 2024 4:13 pm

[Source: OFC Media via Phototek]

The Solomon Islands have topped Group A and secured a semi-final spot after a 1-0 victory against Tahiti at the OFC U-19 Men’s Championship.

Both teams entered the match knowing the equation, a win or draw would see the Solomon Island’s progress, as for Tahiti they needed a victory to guarantee their spot in the semi-finals.

The Solomon Islands threatened first, Jimson Abana twice found himself in behind the Tahitan defence but both times his shots were off target.

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The ball found its way into the back of net at the 22nd minute mark, but was deemed to have hit Abana’s hand as he rounded the keeper and tapped the ball into the net.

Solomon Islands’ speed up front was hurting Tahiti. This time it was speedster James Laena bearing down on goal, but it took fantastic save from Keahinui Heinis to deny him.

Tahiti came into life towards the end of the half, Iliwai Resopawiro showing some twinkle toes, as he dribbled past multiple Solomon Islands defenders before unleashing his shot that narrowly went wide.

A stunning 60m run from Franck Papaura gave Tahiti the final chance of the first period. However, after doing all the work his chip shot was easily smothered by goalkeeper Gideon Abidan.

The first goal came early in the second-half. Defender Hitimoana Teuira got caught in possession in Tahiti’s 18-yard box by Abana, who drove towards the byline before cutting the ball back for Laena who smashed it beyond Heinis.

At the midway stage of the second period Abana could have made it two, after making a run from half-way, only for Tahiti’s cover defence to block him.

Today’s result makes it three wins in a row for the Solomon Islands, who’ve managed to get through the groups without conceding a single goal.

They now await the results of tomorrow’s Group B matches to see who they play.

As for Tahiti, they finish third in the group and will take part in the fifth place playoff on Tuesday.