Solomon Islands came from behind to beat Papua New Guinea 2-1 in Port Moresby last night to keep their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign alive.
The hosts needed to win by five clear goals and went in front in the 18th minute after Raymond Gunemba capitalised on a mix-up in the Solomons defence.
Henry Fa'arodo equalised from the penalty spot on the half hour mark after PNG defender Felix Komolong was shown a red card for a clear handball in front of goal.
Benjamin Totori pierced the Kapuls defensive line with a lofted ball to set Jerry Donga free on goal in first half stoppage time and he made no mistake, slotting the ball past goalkeeper Ronald Warisan for what proved to be the winning strike.
It's the first time in 12 years the Solomon Islands have qualified for the play-off final and a moment captain Henry Fa'arodo wanted to relish.
"You know, the loss to Papua New Guinea in the semi-finals of the Nations Cup was a year ago and today I feel like we have rid ourselves of that memory," he said.
Bonitos coach Felipe Vega Arango Alonso was pleased with how his side kept themselves together after going behind early.
"I am really happy and I am really happy because I know how hard these guys have worked. They deserve it," he said.
"The game was not easy, I knew, and at the beginning once again we make a little mistake and they scored an early goal.
"But we kept it together. They tried hard, they fought and we were a bit lucky with the expulsion of the player because against ten things are a little bit easier.
"Even though in the second half PNG, which is a wonderful team, pushed hard we had to compete extremely hard today because PNG, they did a wonderful job."
Vega Arango Alonso said after his side scored the second goal they opted not to take too many risks which resulted in a much more defensive approach to the second half.
Kapuls coach Flemming Serritslev said Felix Komolong's sending off was the turning point in the match.
"I'm very proud of the team but I'm not proud that it's the second time in-a-row, in home matches, we've had the match spoiled by a very unfair decision from the referees," he said.
"It's really tough to have to play more than 60 minutes with only ten players.
"I cannot blame the boys for anything at all. They really did their best and dominated the second half totally with ten men. What more can I demand from them? I cannot demand more.
"What we have to be honest about is that we didn't create the number of chances which was enough to win the game."
Back to back victories over the Kapuls propelled Solomon Islands into top spot in Group B of Oceania Stage 3 Qualifying, above PNG and Tahiti.
The Bonitos will now meet Group A winners and OFC Nations Cup holders New Zealand in a home-and-away series final later this year.