Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have a recent history of meeting in tournament semifinals. In 2016, the teams met in the semifinals of the OFC Nations Cup. Papua New Guinea won 2-1 and advanced to the final of the tournament.
The following year, they faced each other in Port Moresby worth a place in the World Cup qualifier final against New Zealand. On that occasion, the Solomon Islands beat the Kapuls 2-1, and then were defeated in the final.
Today – March 27 – the two teams meet again in a semifinal. The winner of this contest will face either New Zealand or Tahiti in the final of the World Cup qualifier to fight for a spot in the intercontinental playoff.
The Solomon Islands have their hopes pinned on their attacking quartet consisting of Alwin Hou, Joses Nawo, Micah Lea’alafa and Raphael Lea’i – all of whom have scored a goal or provided an assist so far. The team coached by Felipe Vega-Arango has shown engaging soccer, with lots of passing and control of possession, with Micah Lea’alafa playing a major role in the team’s success.
Papua New Guinea is in good form and boasts powerful forward Tommy Semmy. He has scored two goals in the tournament and has been one of the best players in the tournament, along with teammates Alwin Komolong and Ronald Warisan. Marcos Gusmão’s work so far is convincing and now he has the opportunity to lead Papua New Guinea to the final of the tournament.
The clash between the two teams will be contested at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar. It is scheduled to start at 5pm local time. The match will be broadcast by Eleven Sports.