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The Papua New Guinea (PNG) national men’s soccer team ended their OFC Stage Three World Cup Qualifiers with a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Solomon Islands at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby Tuesday.
In front of a rowdy home crowd, SI gave it as good as they received in a pulsating performance to deny a hungry PNG side.
The match was soured by the sending off of key PNG defender Felix Komolong for a deliberate hand ball at the 30th minute, leaving the home side a greater challenge to produce that miracle.
PNG head coach Flemming Serritslev voiced his disappointment after the match, saying that was a turning point in their battle against the odds already stacked against them.
PNG led 1-0 through the Nigel Dabinyaba and Raymond Gunemba combination, but that was short-lived when Komolong was shown the red card for denying a potential goal illegally.
Returning SI skipper Henry Fa’arodo made no mistake to level the score at 1-1.
Then the home-side chances slipped away further when Benjamin Totori found Jerry Donga in open space to beat PNG goal-keeper Ronald Warisan in extra-time of the first-half to silence the hyperactive PNG crowd.
With only 10 men in the field in the second half, PNG did not give up hope as they mounted continued pressure to no avail.
SI now heads Pool B and will now meet Pool A leaders New Zealand in the OFC home and away Grand Final.
The winner heads to the next stage to the Inter-Confederate play-off to qualify for the World Cup.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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