The Solomon Islands champions Solomon Warriors started in fashion their campaign in a hard fought win over the newcomers from Tahiti AS Tiare Tahiti thanks a clinical header by their star-player Dennis Ifunaoa.
The Solomon Islanders controled most of the match, lost some good goalscoring opportunities including one penalty-kick lost by the Ni-Vanuatu international John Alick. Despite playing a better game, the Tahitian side were also dangerous in the counter-attacks forcing the goalkeeper Timothy Maerasia to make some important stops.
Ifunaoa talked to Oceania Football Center and expressed his joy for scoring and winning this very important match: “We are very happy for winning the match, despite some of our players picked up injuries in the game“, stated the Solomon Islands international.
As mentioned by the forward, some of his teammates suffered minor injuries during the match, including himself: “I received a knock in my right leg, I am struggling to walk properly for now, but I expect to play the next game“, said the attacker.
The representatives from Solomon Islands made a very important step towards qualification for the knock-out stage with their 1-0 victory over Tiare Tahiti, since now both sides only have one match remaining in the group C – both against the hosts AS Magenta from New Caledonia – as the Cook Islands side Tupapa Maraerenga withdrew from the competition.