New Zealand look likely to play Vanuatu or Samoa in the semi-finals of the OFC Olympic qualifier tournament.
Latest results in Pool B have eliminated Tonga from the knockout stages of the Auckland tournament in which New Zealand have already secured their semi-final berth.
The winner of the tournament qualifies to represent Oceania at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
On Thursday, the ten men of Solomon Islands impressively saw off Samoa in their second Group B match to secure their place in the semi-finals.
Despite going a man down after Alford Kanahanimae saw a straight red for a lunging tackle on Samoa’s Luke Salisbury, Solomon Islands were by far the better side and well worth the 3-0 margin.
Kyah Cahill almost scored a consolation for Samoa after he dispossessed goalkeeper Petua in the box but the resulting effort was blocked. Juan Gobbi’s follow-up was then well saved by the recovering Petua.
Samoa will face Vanuatu, with both sides vying for second place in the group and a semi-final berth. Solomon Islands will look to complete a 100% group stage record when they face Tonga.
Vanuatu kept their hopes alive of qualifying for the semi-finals at the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifier with a 3-0 win over Tonga at The Trusts Arena in Auckland.
Both sides had come off 3-0 defeats by Samoa and the Solomon Islands respectively and the result means Tonga are effectively eliminated from semi-final contention while Vanuatu will need a result against Samoa in their final group game to have a chance of progressing.
Two goals in either half did the damage as Vanuatu dominated proceedings throughout the 90 minutes. Tonga were reduced to 10 men in the second half when defender Kulisitofa Kite received a second yellow card after a cynical trip.
Main photo: Vanuatu’s Nicolas King celebrates his goal with Vanuatu’s Joel Botleng. Photo: OFC / Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Vanuatu will face Samoa and Tonga meet the Solomon Islands in the final round of Group B fixtures on Sunday.
Acknowledgement: Match reports provided by OFC Media.
Games played on Thursday August 31, 2023
Solomon Islands 3 (Junior Rocky 39′, Javin Wae 60′, Ben Fox 64′)
Vanuatu 4 (Nicolas King 5′ 82′, George Chichirua 24′, Giniho Tabe 69′)
Game to be played on Saturday September 2, 2023
Papua New Guinea v Fiji
Go Media Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, 3pm
Games to be played on Sunday September 3, 2023
Vanuatu v Samoa
The Trusts Arena, Auckland, 12pm
Tonga v Solomon Islands
The Trusts Arena, Auckland, 3pm
To be played at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium on Wednesday September 6, 2023, at 3pm and 7pm.
To be played at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday September 9, 2023, at 7pm.