Sport: PNG win in Tahiti to keep World Cup dream alive

12:22 pm on 30 March 2017

Papua New Guinea's FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign is back on track after an upset 2-1 victory over Tahiti in Papeete last night.

With the match locked at 0-0 at halftime, the Kapuls introduced Patrick Aisa off the bench and it was Aisa who broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when he got on the end of a corner from Raymond Gunemba, heading it between two defenders and around the goalkeeper.

Aisa turned provider 12 minutes later, chasing down the ball and flicking it to Gunemba who curled it over the keeper for a two goal lead.

Tauhiti Keck netted a stoppage time consolation goal for the hosts but it was PNG who held on for the crucial three points.

Coach Flemming Serritslev said the result was especially satisfying, after the ten-man Kapuls had been beaten 3-1 at home last week.

"We also did a good game in Port Moresby but there was a certain situation that occurred there…but it's history now," he said.

"This victory keeps us in the running. We had not, until now, won anything in the group and there are now two matches left for us to finalise before we eventually, can celebrate."

PNG celebrate their win over Tahiti.

PNG celebrate their win over Tahiti. Photo: Massimo Colombini

Tahiti coach Ludovic Graugnard was disappointed his side couldn't seal their place in the Oceania qualifying final against New Zealand with a win, but always knew it would be a hard ask.

"What was missing today was winning in the middle of the field. We said even before this game that the battle in the middle of the field would be important, " he said.

"That the Papua New Guineans would arrive here with a lot of determination because their hopes of continuing were riding on this encounter.

"We lost a lot of possession in the middle of the field and for me that was the difference."

Tahiti still lead Group B with six points from four matches, while Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are three points adrift with two matches in hand.

The Kapuls and Bonitos will play home and away in June in the final Stage 3 qualifying matches,