Tahiti and Samoa drew in a highly entertaining game with five goals in the first ten minutes and ten in total, including two hattricks.
(Tahiti – Samoa 5-5)
Tahiti got under pressure early with Samoa’s Sina Sataraka getting a goal thanks to her relentless pressing leading to a mistake from the Tahiti defence. Sataraka got the ball and made no mistake one-on-one with Tahiti’s goalkeeper Vahinerii Puraga. All this happened within the first 20 seconds of the game.
Then just a minute or so later Tahiti were level. A cross found Heimiri Alvarez at the back post and the Tahiti captain did well to head it back to the feet of Carole Teotahi. Her shot found the back of the net as Ronisa Lipi couldn’t keep it out.
But in the fifth minute Samoa were back in the lead. A long free kick wasn’t cleared properly and Mariah Bullock beat Puraga in the air to head the ball in.
Again Tahiti equalized immediately. A cross found Teotahi who scored her second.
But Tahiti weren’t done there. They scored immediately yet again as Hanihei Taumaa came one-on-one with Lipi and sent the ball past the Samoan keeper in the tenth minute.
Then the game settled down with Tahiti taking control of the ball. But it was Samoa who would score again.
Hana Malo lined up for a free kick at the edge of the area and blasted the ball into the back of the net to make it all level.
And as the game seemed to go to half time, Ninauea Hioe had a crack from long range and hit the ball perfectly in the fourth and final minute of added time. The ball went soaring into the top corner via the underside of the crossbar and Tahiti took a 4-3 lead into the second half.
- READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Samoa’s debutant Mariah Bullock on playing for her mother’s country and returning to the pitch
Controversy in the second half
Just five minutes into the second half Tahiti extended their lead as Teotahi got her hattrick. A great pass from Heidy Marae found Teotahi who rounded the keeper and two defenders to put the ball into the open net.
Then a bit of controversy. A poor challenge from Lanihei Rua tripped Sataraka who was furious and went after the Tahitian fullback. From the video images it looked a lot like Sataraka tried to punch the Tahitian and the Tongan referee conferred with her assistant who kept making punching hand gestures. The referee then pulled out a yellow card for both players as well as Samoa’s Morovea Mamea who interfered in the incident. Sataraka could count herself lucky to still be on the pitch.
And when Samoa found the back of the net yet again in the 79th minute, who else was on the end of a long ball to convert one-on-one with Puaraga? Of course, it was Sataraka, who got herself a brace.
But Sataraka wasn’t done. A long ball through once again found the rapid striker and again she made no mistake alone with the goalkeeper to draw Samoa level with one minute of normal time to go.
That means that Tahiti and Samoa share the spoils, a result neither team is entirely happy with. That means it’s going to be all to play for on the final day