The Tongans put on their best performance in their final showcase against Tahiti to restrict Tahiti to just a 2-0 victory.
In all Tonga’s games, this was their best performance in the championship although they were playing with the host nation.
They moved around like a thick wall, and double marked every Tahiti coming up on them. The Tahitian got really depressed as they could not find their way through, and they started to shoot from outside the dangerous area.
The Tahitian got many chances, even inside Tonga’s goalmouth, but Tonga make sure their wall wouldn’t be easy to breakthrough.
In the 42th minute, ‘Ofa Kite, Tonga’s No. 4 got injured to his eye and he had to leave the field, but Kite was part of the strong backbone of the Tongan’s wall. There were four minutes extra add on, and in the first minute, Tahiti managed to break the Tonga defence down and score their first goal for the day.
In the second half, the Tongans kept on fighting and in the 51th minute, Tahiti #4 make his last touch to put the ball in the back of the net. The Tongans woke up after Tahiti increased their goals and they play stronger and more pro-active especially the defenders and midfielders. The Tu’ifangalokas support each other from the back line, and Opesi performed really well just behind the team captain, his older brother Sione.
Tonga almost put a goal on the scoreboard, but the assistant referee indicated that Jacob Kilmartin was on an offside position.
In the 82th minutes, Tonga received a penalty and Mohammad Rajani shot straight to Tamatai, Tahiti keeper hands.
The Tongans locked every way for the Tahitian to get a chance to score a goal till the final whistle for the day.
The Tonga coach, Soane Mailangi were very pleased with the result today and he is so proud of his boys.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the almighty for all the success we have been through, the last game to come up 2-0 is pretty good for us.”
“And just like I’ve said before, the good result for Tonga and U-19 is to come up to this stage and be competitive in the OFC tournament and I think we tried to complete all the visions we put through.”
“We came up to this stage, it’s a little bit fast, and they’re skilled and physical. The boys, especially the boys and coach, we’ve learned new skills that we’ll go home and work on and we’re looking forward to the next stage that we go through to,” Mailangi said.
Tonga U 19 team performed their Sipi Tau for the Tahitian team and to all the supporters that were awaiting at the Stade Fautaua to show their final respect and gratitude for everything since they arrived in Tahiti.
Tonga will depart Tahiti on Sunday after two weeks of being away from home.