Thursday, 6 September 2007 4:00 PM

Soccer: SI Goes Down to New Caledonia

The Solomon Islands have gone down to the New Caledonian side 3-2 amidst high drama.

The Airton Andrioli coached side were firm favorites going into the semi finals after an impressive 2- 0 victory over Vanuatu.

The game started off with both teams playing at frantic pace. New Caledonia seemed more determined to score goals, with at least five shots to goal. National goal keeper, Fred Hale, as he had displayed throughout the tournament, pulled off some brilliant saves denying the New Caledonian strikers.

Unfortunately, mid way through the first half, New Caledonia scored from a through ball. One of their striker pounced when there was a slight mix up in the defense. While New Caledonia was still reeling on their one nil lead, Solomon Islands replied with a fantastic header from Junior Fa'arodo.

The Solomon Islands, in a more assertive style, scored in the first minute of the second half through their captain, Commins Menapi. The New Caledonians were lethal in attack and they quickly replied with a goal. Then came the drama. Alec Mamae, who was earlier booked for a careless tackle, was sent off. Frustration slowly crept in for the Solomon's team, who were now playing a man down, which resulted in Omokirio being sent off for careless play.

This spurred the New Caledonians, who, sensing the victory pushed ever more urgently. The resulting goal was inevitable, sending the New Caledonians into the finals of the South Pacific Games Gold medal finals. The Solomon Islands, gracious in defeat, can only look back with pride as they gave it their all, even though there were only nine players on the pitch.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province