Papua New Guinea defeated New Caledonia by 1-0 at Qatar SC Stadium in Doha with a goal scored by Tommy Semmy in the first minutes of the game.
After losing in the opening round of FIFA World Cup Qualififers, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia clashed in the second matchday of the tournament in a do-or-die match for both sides.
The team coached by Marcos Gusmão came to this match with four changes in the starting eleven: Emmanuel Airem, Kolu Kepo, Michael Foster and Stahl Gubag replaced Koriak Upaiga, Ati Kepo, David Muta and Raymond Gunemba, respectively.
On the other hand, New Caledonia’s head coach Dominique Wacalié has made five changes to his starting line-up: César Zeoula, Georges Gope-Fenepej, Joris Kenon, Joseph Athalé and Mickael Ulile made their way into the starting eleven, while Cédric Decoire, Joël Wakanumuné, Pierre Bako, Rocky Nyikeine and Titouan Richard had to watch the kick-off from the bench.
The first scoring opportunity of the game came in the fourth minute, when New Caledonian forward Jordan Wetria’s shot was stopped by Ronald Warisan. Three minutes later, Tommy Semmy found the net to open the scoreboard for Papua New Guinea, after his shot was deflected by New Caledonia’s captain Emile Béaruné.
With one goal in advantage, Papua New Guinea tried to keep possession, as New Caledonia started to play more vertically, trying to exploit the space behind their opponent’s defensive line. Daniel Joe, Felix Komolong, Alwin Komolong and Emmanuel Airem were doing a great defensive job with a well organized offside trap.
The team coached by Dominique Wacalié had a huge chance to equalize in the 21st minute – when Papua New Guinean offisde trap failed. Morgan Mathelon advanced between two defenders and was face to face with the opposing goalkeeper, but his shot went wide.
Things became more exciting in the second half as New Caledonia began to attack even more searching for an equalizer. The Cagous managed to keep more possession while Papua New Guinea started to struggle defensively. Both teams had opportunities to score but poor finising prevented both sides to find the net. New Caledonia’s situation got worse in the final minutes of the game when Jean-Luc Decoiré saw a red card in the 87th minute.
Tommy Semmy still had a great opportunity to score again in the final moments of the clash, but he missed the target. At the final whistle the score was 1-0 in favor of Papua New Guinea. You can check the winning goal scored by Semmy by clicking here.
Both teams come back to the field on Thursday. Papua New Guinea will face Fiji at Al-Arabi Stadium while the New Caledonian side will be looking for a miracle against New Zealand to advance to the semi-finals.