Tuesday, 28 July 2009 2:37 PM

Vanuatu Beats Solomon Islands in Beach Soccer Opening Match

Vanuatu and Tahiti are off to winning starts at the 2009 Tahiti Nui Beach Soccer Championship on Tahiti's picturesque Island of Moorea.

Vanuatu continued their Beach Soccer opening day 'hoodoo' against the Solomon Islands, beating the defending OFC champions 4-2 in extra time in the Championship opening match.

The win marks the third time, at three consecutive events, that Vanuatu has beaten the Solomons in a Beach Soccer day one fixture.

However on the previous two occasions the Solomons have been able to bounce back from these early disappointments and go on to win the 2006 and 2007 Championships while Vanuatu has failed to kick on.

Yesterday's win for Vanuatu was sealed by a commanding extra time performance where they scored two goals in the extended period and gave the Solomons no chance.

Earlier, some James Naka brilliance had dragged his team back into the match as he laid-on a third quarter goal to Robert Laua and scored an excellent individual goal himself to tie the scores 2-2 shortly before the end of normal time.

Vanuatu coach Richard Iwai said he was very pleased with his team's first up performance but was wary of looking too far ahead.

"For sure we played very well today - playing the Solomons is almost like a final for us because they are such a good team. But we have prepared very well for this tournament and we really focused on winning our first game."

"We also know that we have beaten the Solomons in an Championship opening match before and then they have come back to beat us in the final so now we must just look to our next match tomorrow against Fiji in again do our best," said Iwai.

In the day's second fixture host nation Tahiti's superior preparation and fitness proved the key to their 10-5 win over OFC Beach Soccer newcomers Fiji.

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