Futsal Whites see off Tahiti

Stephen Ashby-Peckham celebrates his goal v Tahiti. Photo by OFC via Phototek.

The Futsal Whites grabbed their second win in as many matches at OFC Futsal Championships on Tuesday, claiming a 3-2 victory over Tahiti at Vodafone Arena in Fiji.

Having built a 2-0 halftime advantage via goals from Kareem Osman and Stephen Ashby-Peckham, Tahiti pulled a goal back when Lucas Da Silva turned into his own net.

With Tahiti employing the fifth man tactic as they continued to try and get back into the game, Dylan Manickum grabbed an insurance goal after the 30 minute mark before Heimana Faarahia completed the scoring with Tahiti’s second of the match.

New Zealand coach Scott Gilligan said it was pleasing result that saw his side show it’s true character.

“When Tahiti started playing the fifth man, which they did quite a lot, and with the slippery court, we have to move but they don’t have to quite as much so it was dangerous and we nearly copped one at the end because of it,” Gilligan says.

Osman’s opener got New Zealand off to a good start, putting the Futsal Whites ahead well inside the five minute mark.

Two minutes later Stephen Ashby-Peckham tapped in a second for the Futsal Whites before the New Zealand defence withstood heavy pressure from the Tahitians who were fighting to claw their way back into the encounter.

While they enjoyed 60 per cent of possession, Tahiti struggled to get past New Zealand goalkeeper Elias Billeh despite putting 12 of their 31 shots on target.

Later in the half, Tahiti did have the ball in the New Zealand net but the goal was not awarded. But their luck turned after the break as Da Silva accidently deflected a cross into his own goal.

Adopting the fifth man tactic for a large chunk of the second half helped contribute to that goal, but it also put them at risk at the back, a factor Manickum exploited when he won the ball deep in Tahiti territory and sent it rolling into an empty net.

Tahiti pulled a second goal back through the diminutive Faarahia, and although they continued to come close, the Futsal Whites held on to claim the important victory ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the Solomon Islands (6.30pm NZ time) who have also taken two wins from their two matches to date.

OFC Futsal Championships 2016
Tuesday 9 February

New Zealand 3-2 Tahiti (half: 2-0)
NZL: Kareem Osman 4.04’, Stephen Ashby-Peckham 5.45’, Dylan Manickum 31.03’
TAH: OG 29.08’, Heimana Faarahia 37.17’

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Scott Gilligan