Friday 09 June 2017, 07:31

Solomons edge thriller, close in on play-off place

  • Solomon Islands defeat PNG in OFC’s penultimate group-stage match

  • PNG came from two down but Solomons' Micah Lea’Alafa found a winner

  • Solomons need a point in their final match to reach the OFC play-off

Solomon Islands are within touching distance of a ticket to the Oceania 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ play-off after an action-packed 3-2 win over a brave Papua New Guinea in Honiara.

The home side raced to a two-goal advantage at the half-time break thanks to goals from Atkin Kaua and acting captain Benjamin Totori, who was standing in for the suspended Henry Fa’Arodo.

However, Papua New Guinea are renowned for the resilience these days under Flemming Serritslev, and they found a way back by the hour mark as captain Michael Foster and Patrick Aisa both netted.

But the last word went to Solomon Islands’ Auckland City-based star attacker Micah Lea’Alafa, who sent Lawson Tama stadium into raptures by firing home the winner, having latched onto a pass from beach soccer international James Naka to score.

The result leaves Solomon Islands needing just a draw in the return in Port Moresby on Tuesday to win through to the play-off final against New Zealand. Should they fail to do so, leaders Tahiti will win the group unless PNG can manage victory by a large margin.