Tahiti were trailing 2-1 with one minute and forty seconds to play before Michel Maihuri scored two goals in the space of 90 seconds to clinch the win in dramatic circumstances.
The game began at a breakneck speed with Tahiti scoring after two minutes through Romeo Patira before New Zealand equalized just five seconds later care of Joshua Martin.
The remainder of the first half was a cagey tense affair with both sides creating good chances but unable to convert them into goals.
Marvin Eakins looked like he had clinched the winner for New Zealand when his finish put the kiwis in front with two minutes left on the clock.
But the Tahitian side – playing at their first ever OFC Futsal championship – were not done and Maihuri scored the equalizer with 1.40 left on the clock.
The celebrations were intense from the Tahitian bench but they were nothing compared to the jubilation shown nine seconds from time when Maihuri headed home his second of the night to steal an improbable victory.
The Tahiti coaching staff were near speechless after the win and head coach Rani Bea stated that he had never given up.
“That was our game. Yesterday we did not play our game but today we showed what we can do. We are still alive in this competition.”
“I always believed. The last two minutes I brought on my four best players because I believed we could do it, and in this moment I am so happy.”
“When the goal came I thought of the country and everyone who we have done so proud. I am just so happy.”
“Tonight we will celebrate but tomorrow we will be back to work.”
New Zealand Coach Erkin Osman was bitterly disappointed with the loss and said the side missed too many chances early in the game.
“We created 25 or so chances and only converted two. You can’t afford to do that.”
“Going 2-1 up with a minute to go, we should have been able to hold on, but we weren’t desperate enough.”
“I put our best defenders on at the end to shut up shop but they still got in behind us, I’m very disappointed.”
NZL: 1. Elias BILLEH (GK); 4. Marvin EAKINS; 8. Joshua MARTIN; 17. Victor ZAIA; 23. Gregory O’CONNOR
SUBS: 20. Clayton CHAPPELL (RGK), 5. Yukin NAIDOO; 14. Bakr Al SAUDI; 3. Andrew GWILLIAM; 19. Michael CORRINGHAM; 10. Ouadhah RAGUED; 12. Luke FIELD
Coach: Erkin Osman (AUS)
Goals: 8. Joshua Martin 1′; 4. Marvin Eakins;
TAH: 1. Rehia DAVIO (GK); 3. Jimmy RIARIA; 4. Romeo PATIRA; 6. Michel MAIHURI; 7. Steeven TINO;
SUBS: 2. Matana BEA; 5. Lysis TAUHA; 8. Tetuanui TINOMOE; 9. Lorama BEA; 10. Usiera PUKOKI; 11. Amau TETUANUI; 12. Fernand TUANUA;
Coach: Rani BEA (TAH)
Goals: 4. Romeo Patira 1′; Michel Maihuri;
Referee: Allan ALICK (VAN)
2nd Referee: Amitesh BEHARI (FIJ)
3rd Referee: Stephanie PARAGE (NCL)
Timekeeper: Francois TROLLIARD (NCL)
Referee’s Assessor: Chandra SEGRAN (FIJ)
Source : Oceania Football Confederation
Photos : Marc Peretic Wilson
Published : 10/6/2008