Group A: Match 6 - Samoa stuns Solomon Islands 1-0
It was a night where Samoa, one of the tiniest nations in FIFA's football family, with a population of just 170 000, showed the heart of world champions to overcome the Solomon Islands 1-0.
Not one of the small crowd on hand felt compelled to leave the premises at any time during the match, nor did they feel it necessary to leave when referee Neil Fox blew full time.
This was Samoa's night. And the ear-to-ear smiles and tears of joy that flowed from the faces of Samoa's warriors were reflected on the crowd as they stayed to enjoy rendition after rendition of ritualistic dances performed in celebration by the Samoans.
The Samoans, predicted by many to suffer heavy defeats in all of their matches this tournament, executed the perfect counter attacking football game to a Solomon Islands side brimming with special talent of their own, including National Soccer League regular Henry Fa'arodo.
But the game will be remembered by a truly remarkable performance by one of the purest talents in Oceania - Richmond Desmond Faaiuaso.
Faaiuaso, just 19, scored the games only goal on 11 minutes after outsmarting the Solomons offside trap and coolly rounding `keeper Felix Ray, Jr. to score what ultimately proved to be the match winner.
The Solomons were guilty of being to square at the back too often and were lucky not to lose by more come the final whistle. Faaiuaso consistently exploited this with his sharp turn of pace and was a constant headache to the Solomons defense through the whole 90 minutes.
As for the Samoans, their defense was simply impenetrable. Captain Filipo Bureta marshalled his troops flawlessly and on the rare occasions that the Solomons managed a shot on goal, custodian Pasi Schwalger was unbeatable.
It was further testament to a defense that held Australia to just one goal from the penalty spot in an entire half of football, fifteen minutes of which were played with ten men.
Try as they may, the flair of Fa'arodo and his support cast of Vivian Wickham, Jerry Sam and Kidston Olomani could not find a way through the Samoans last line of defense.
The Samoans will take great pride in their achievement, which is the first in many that lie ahead of the ambitious islanders, led by coach David Brand.
Brand's charges next face Fiji in what promises to be a much sterner test for Marconi's adopted nation, but another opportunity to prove their doubters wrong. However, they will be without their star striker Faaiuaso who sits out the next game after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament last night.
Last night's loss was the Solomons' penultimate game and they will need a big lift to be ready for Tuesday's clash with Australia. - By Ben Coonan
Match 6: Solomon Islands vs Samoa / Statistical Review
Full-time score: 0-1 (Samoa)
Half-time score: 0-1 (Samoa)
Date/Time: Sunday, 18 January - 7:30pm (AEST)
Scorers: Samoa - (16) Richmond Desmond Faaiuaso 11
Cautions: Samoa - (12) Michael Toleafoa 19'; (16) Richmond Desmond Faaiuaso 24
Solomons - (12) George Abba 52'
Weather: Overcast, light winds, cool
Crowd attendance: 200
Referee: Neil Fox (New Zealand)
Assistant Referee 1: Paul Dunham (New Zealand)
Assistant Referee 2: Wayne Stapley (New Zealand)
Fourth Official: Lencie Fred (Vanuatu)
Match Commissioner: `Ahongalu Fusimalohi (Tonga)
Referee Inspector: Barry Such (Australia)
Team Line-ups (& Substitutes)
20. Felix Ray Jr (GK)
3. Phillip Boe (c)
4. Dick Ngota
5. George Suri
6. Jerry Sam
8. Vivian Wickham
11. Kidston Olomani
12. George Abba
14. Benjamin Mela (-70')
15. Marshall Hiro (-69')
18. Henry Fa'arodo
1. Jeffrey Aruhe (RGK)
2. Tome Faisi
7. Alick Maemae
9. Simon Sau
10. Michael Misitana (+69')
13. Clifford Huta
16. Lency Saeni (+70')
17. Addyca Maeta
19. Jack Wasi
Coach: Matai Vave
1. Pasi Schwalger (GK)
2. Filipo Bureta (c)
3. Peniamina Timo
6. Kiwi Timo
10. Bevan Kapisi
12. Michael Toleafoa
14. Penitito Tumua
15. Lolo Lui
16. Richmond Des Faaiuaso
17. Otto Hunt
19. Sio Togamoa
4. Sakaria Fuimaono
5. Iupeli Ioane
7. Joseph Hoeflich
8. Afasene Tusitala
9. Ioapo Ava
11. Ioane Ioane
13. Ki Anufe
20. Fatuvalu Numia
Coach: David Brand
Last Modified on 19/01/2004 13:51