8 Jun 2018

Sport: Tuvalu footballers beaten in stoppage time

11:21 am on 8 June 2018

Tuvalu let a two goal lead slip in the dying minutes to lose their latest match at the CONIFA World Football Cup in London.

Striker Alopua Petoa gave the Pacific nation their first lead of the tournament in the third minute against Tamil Eelam.

Their opponents, who are drawn from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora community in Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, equalised four minutes later with their first goal of the tournament before Tuvalu goalkeeper Katepu Iosua dived to his right to save a penalty and keep the teams all square at half-time.

Tuvalu failed to convert from the penalty spot shortly after half time but moments later striker Sosene Vailine put the Oceania representatives back in front.

Tempers flare during the second half.

Tempers flare during the second half. Photo: Twitter/CONIFAOfficial

Midfielder Taufaiva Ionatana was shown a green card for dissent by the referee and sent from the field.

Under CONIFA rules a player who received a green card "can be replaced if his team have not used all of their substitutes".

Petoa scored his second in the 73rd minute to give Tuvalu a two goal buffer but, with a historic victory seemingly within reach, Prashanth Ragavan scored in the 86th and 91st minute to complete his hat-trick and level the scores at 3-3.

Janothan Perananthan then broke Pacific hearts to bag the winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time, completing a stunning 4-3 comeback win.

Tuvalu celebrate their second goal.

Tuvalu celebrate their second goal. Photo: Twitter/CONIFAOfficial

Tuvalu will face the Chagos Islands in their final match on Saturday after Ellan Vannin from the Isle of Man withdrew from the tournament.

The World Cup is organised by the Confederation of Independent Football Associations for regions and states not affiliated to football's world governing body FIFA.