4 Jun 2012

Sport: Tahiti stun nine-man New Caledonia in Nations Cup

10:27 am on 4 June 2012

Tahiti upset 4-3 New Caledonia at the Oceania Nations Cup in Honiara yesterday to throw Group A wide open.

Tahiti took the lead in the 19th minute when Alvin Tehau got on the end of a corner from brother Lorenzo.

The match then took a decisive turn on the half hour mark when New Caledonia's Georges Gope-Fenepej was sent off for handling in the box, with Nicolas Vallar slotting home the resulting penalty kick.

The Tehau brothers then switched roles with Alvin turning provider for Lorenzo, who made it 3-0 before halftime.

A second red card in the 53rd minute reduced Les Cagous to nine men.

Two late goals then raised hopes of a shock comeback, before substitute Roihau Degage put the result beyond doubt, although Les Cagous did manage a third goal at the death.

New Caledonia coach Alain Moizan was proud of the spirit shown by his players.

"So Tahiti took the lead in the game pretty quickly but after we saw them a little bit tired and I'm sure, if we had two more players, we can win this game."

Meanwhile Vanuatu already have an eye on their next match after thumping Samoa 5-0.

The victory drew Vanuatu level with New Caledonia on three points from two matches, three points behind Group A leaders Tahiti.

Defender Brian Kaltack, who captained his country for the first time in the match, scored one of the goals but was disappointed his team didn't finish more of their chances.

And Kaltack says the team is already thinking about their final group match against Tahiti.

We've watched them play yesterday and they too perform very fantastic plays.

They will play like New Cali - touch, move and space. All the boys we have to pull up our socks and start to focus on the match against Tahiti, because the tournament doesn't finish, and we need to get in there and put in some goals.