It was a team effort from Vanuatu with four players getting on the score sheet, while New Caledonia’s Cedrick Humuni led the way for his side grabbing a hat-tick.
Indeed Humuni thought he had won it for his side with the last of his efforts making it 4-3 in the 32nd minute, sparking wild celebrations from the New Caledonia bench.
But it wasn’t to be as Jack Vira Ala stepped up to score Vanuatu’s last two goals in the 36th and 38th minute.
Vanuatu Coach Marcellino Barthelemy says it is another step towards their ultimate goal of winning the championship.
“We’ve entered this competition to win. We’ve made made big commitments for our families, our communities and our country. So we are not allowed to lose,” says Barthelemy.
In the first period New Caledonia came out the stronger team with Humuni scoring inside two minutes after nice build up play.
New Caledonia’s second goal from Anderson Paulini seemed to spur Vanuatu into action as they followed up with a wave of attacks.
Captain Louis Dominique, again dominant for Vanuatu, got one back in the 13th minute with an easy tap from Ben Hungai’s lay-off.
Six minutes later, Junior Malas showed some fancy footwork on the edge of the area before letting rip with a left foot strike into the top corner.
The second period was just as tight with end-to-end action. Vanuatu scored less than five minutes in through Don Mansale after fancy footwork by Ricky Tuigaloa but as quickly as they had taken the lead Humani had the equaliser. The New Caledonia number 8 completed his hat-trick in the 32nd minute with an low shot into the bottom corner.
But Ala had they final say scoring in the 36th minute and then powering home from the penalty spot two minutes later to secure a dramatic victory.
Barthelemy says his side will look to continue their winning streak against New Zealand tomorrow.
“NZ is a big opponent like always. We respect them and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
To download the match summary Vanuatu-New Caledonia, click here.