Solomon Islands clinch last four spot at OFC U-19 Men’s Championship

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The Solomon Islands are the first team to book a semi-final berth at the OFC U-19 Men’s Championship in Samoa.

They won their second group game at the eight-nation tournament to ensure they’ll go into the last four, regardless how their third game goes, against Tahiti.

In Monday’s games, the Solomon Islands beat Fiji 3-0 while Tahiti scraped past Vanuatu 1-0.

The tournament decides which two teams will represent Oceania at next year’s FIFA U-20 Men’s World Cup in Chile.

Solomon Islands head for semi-finals after 3-0 win

Solomon Islands showed their class to confirm their semi-final spot with a 3-0 victory against Fiji in Apia.

There was plenty riding on this match, with Fiji and the Solomon Islands knowing a victory would secure their spot in the last four.

Solomon Islands’ James Laena had the first chance, a one-on-one with Fiji’s Illisoni Koro in the fourth minute, but the ball bobbled and he sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.

Minutes later, Jayroll Patty’s shot from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection, forcing Koro into a save. He parried the shot to Laena, who got an unkind bounce and again failed to hit the target.

Fiji defend against the Solomon Islands. Photo credit: OFC Media / DJ Mills / Phototek.

It was end-to-end action, and Leena again found himself in the thick of it for the Solomon Islands, beating the offside trap, only to send his shot directly at the goalkeeper.

Fiji’s first shot on target came in the 21st minute when captain Penisoni Tirau bore down on goal but couldn’t manage to dink it over the onrushing Gideon Abidan.

The Solomon Islands’ dominance eventually paid off.

As half time neared, they were given a free kick on the edge of the box, which Billy Afi tucked into the bottom corner with a beautiful shot.

With the first half almost over, the Solomon Islands pinched a well-deserved second goal.

A cross from the right saw Jimson Abana rise beside two Fiji defenders, and float his header over Koro into the back of the net.

Humid conditions slowed the match in the second period, which helped bring Fiji back into the match.

Substitute Eparama Moraica had been a shining light since arriving on the field. After working the ball into the penalty area, Tirau laid it back for Moraica, metres out from the goal he sent his shot sky-bound, Fiji’s best chance of the match.

The Solomon Islands wrapped up the match in the 83rd minute, with Abana going aerial to score a stunning scissor kick.

The Solomon Islands still have a final group stage assignment on Thursday when they meet Tahiti.

Fiji will need to nurse their wounds with their final match to come, against a Vanuatu who are still in with a chance of making the final four.

Tahiti captain Titouan Guillemant (13) stretches to make a tackle. Photo credit: DJ Mills / Phototek.

Tahiti scrape past Vanuatu 1-0

Tahiti have clinched an all-important three points after edging Vanuatu 1-0 in Group A.

Twelve minutes into the match, Tahiti were awarded a penalty after a cross struck the hand of Vanuatu’s Jean Patriano Natou.

Up stepped Franck Papaura who sent his spot kick over the crossbar.

Papaura was presented with another chance when a ball clipped across the penalty area found his feet but he scuffed his shot, sending it wide.

A wonderful free kick from Cedovan Taniel saw Vanuatu’s goalkeeper Joseph Nakou, spring into action, making a great low save to deny the Tahitians.

Tahiti had the better of the opening 45 minutes but had nothing to show for it at the break.

Vanuatu drew the first shot in the second period. A quick counterattack saw Sergio Waoute race down the middle of the field before forcing a good save out of Keahinui Heinis in the Tahiti goal.

Again, the Tahitians were caught on the break by Waoute. The striker skipped around the on-rushing Heinis but couldn’t regain his composure, scuffing his shot well wide of the goal.

Desperately seeking what would be a crucial winning goal, Tahiti found it.

Papaura latched on to a fine cross from Bradley Ruiz at the near post, steering his shot past Nakou.

Papaura should have had another, after being found free in the box following a cross, but he could only fashion a shot directly at the goalkeeper.

Photo credit: DJ Mills / Phototek.

The victory for Tahiti leaves them still needing a result against the Solomon Islands, while Vanuatu needs a win against Fiji and hope results go their way on Thursday, to have a chance to progress.

Meanwhile, in Group B, New Zealand play their next group game, against Samoa, on Tuesday.

READ MORE: New Zealand off to winning start at OFC U-19 Men’s Championship in Samoa >>>>


We are grateful for the help of OFC Media in providing information for this story.

Photo credit: OFC Media / DJ Mills / Phototek.


Games played on Monday July 8, 2024

Group A

Fiji 0
Solomon Islands 3 (Billy Afi 35′, Jimson Abana 45+4′, 83′)

Vanuatu 0
Tahiti 1 (Franck Papaura 67′)


Games to be played on Tuesday July 9 2024

Group B

Papua New Guinea v New Caledonia
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 11am (NZT)

New Zealand v Samoa
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 2pm (NZT)

Games to be played on Thursday July 11, 2024

Group A

Vanuatu v Fiji
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 11am (NZT)

Tahiti v Solomon Islands
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 2pm (NZT)

Games to be played on Friday July 12, 2024

Group B

New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 11am (NZT)

New Caledonia v Samoa
FFS Football Stadium, Apia, Samoa, 2pm (NZT)

This story was first published on July 7, 2024.

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