Vanuatu triumphs in tough Melanesian derby

OFC release - Vanuatu walked away with a hard fought 2-0 win over their Melanesian neighbours Solomon Islands at Maroochydore Soccer Centre last night.
But victory came at a cost with star striker Jean Emmanuel Maleb and John Mark Simeon both copping their second yellow cards of the tournament. This puts them out of contention for Vanuatu's last remaining match on Monday against Tahiti.
The Solomon Islands also paid a heavy price in defeat with Michael also copping his second booking of the tournament which also counts him out of the match against New Zealand. None of the pending matches will matter in the final analysis as Australia has already won Group B with a 3-1 win over New Zealand in the last match of round four played last night.
But the battle for second place is still on between Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Zealand and they would want their best players available for the final round.
Vanuatu was able to stave of a fierce challenge from the Solomon Islands last night. Vanuatu took the initiative early attacking from the outset striking the first blow after just two minutes when Sylverstone Kanegai made a clinical finish after a good build-up.
Stung into action, the Solomon Islands tightened their defence and made life difficult for Vanuatu's potent strikers. Jean Emmanuel Maleb was again a marked man for Vanuatu. The match turned into a physical contest with no quarter given.
Frustration set in as first Maleb then Simeon getting shown yellow cards within the space of two minutes by Tahitian referee, Charles Ariiotima. However, Vanuatu was able to hang on to the lead going into the break.
The second half was also a battle of attrition as five more yellow cards were dished out, four to Solomon Island players.
Vanuatu showed more composure towards the end scoring through defender Roger Joe in the 76th minute to seal the match.


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