Saturday 02 November 2019, 09:42

Solomons stamp ticket to Lithuania

  • Solomon Islands are first nation to join hosts Lithuania at 2021 Futsal World Cup

  • They defeated New Zealand on penalties in thrilling OFC final

  • It had finished 5-5 after extra time, before their 2-1 PSO victory

The Solomon Islands are headed to the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™, after finishing top of the pile at the OFC Futsal Nations Cup. They defeated New Zealand on penalties in a thrilling continental finale to retain their title and confirm passage to their fourth consecutive global finals.

It was a topsy-turvy blockbuster match, befitting of a final, that saw the Solomons retain their title and book their place on the global stage once more, and they triumphed despite only being ahead for approximately a minute of the match.

At half-time, the Futsal Whites led 1-0 courtesy of Micky Malivuk's opener, but seven more goals made for an outstanding second half of action. At one stage, New Zealand pressed ahead into a seemingly unassailable 4-2 lead, only for Alvin Hou and Arnold Maeluma's goals - the latter of which came just 20 seconds before the end of regulation time - sent the game into extra time.

The Solomons went ahead for the first time in the game in the first period of extra time through Jeffery Bule, only for the Kurukuru to be pegged back almost immediately by Stephen Ashby-Peckham's effort.

It finished 5-5, meaning the drama of penalties ensued. Anthony Talo's save from Lucas Silva's penalty was the all-important moment that saw Vicius Laite's side named continental champions, thereby booking their ticket to Lithuania.

Final standings - OFC Futsal Nations Cup

  1. Solomon Islands

  2. New Zealand

  3. Tahiti

  4. New Caledonia (hosts)

  5. Fiji

  6. Vanuatu

  7. American Samoa

  8. Tonga