Vanuatu will meet hosts New Zealand and the Solomon Islands will face Fiji in Wednesday’s semi-finals at the OFC Olympic Men’s Qualifier in Auckland.
The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have notched up wins on the final day of Group B action at Trusts Arena with the Solomon Islands beating Tonga 5-1 to finish with a perfect record in Group play. Earlier Vanuatu overcame Samoa 3-1 to clinch runner up spot in the Group.
They may have lost their first two matches and failed to score a goal, but Tonga made much of the early running without seriously testing Davidson Malam in the Solomon Islands goal.
But in the 16th minute a lightening quick Solomon Islands counterattack saw Junior Rocky on the end of the cross just beating Nimilote Moala in the Tongan goal to open the scoring.
Paul Likiliki almost levelled for Tonga a couple of minutes later, but his header was cleared off the line from Innocent Sinahanua.
The Tongans continued to show plenty of endeavour going forward but the final pass lacked accuracy.
Six minutes out from half-time Rocky was put clear in the box but Tongan captain Opesi Tufangaloka did superbly preventing the striker from getting a shot away.
But on the stroke of half-time Dalton Saeni pounced on a flick on and race 30 metres before driving the ball past Moala into the net to double the Solomon Islands lead.
The Solomon Islands made a couple of changes at the start of the second half, and they paid almost immediate dividends. Substitute Calvin Ohasio scored his side’s third goal after a beautiful passing move involving Norman Winford and captain Javin Wae.
Hudyn Irodao then weaved his way through the Tongan defence before firing a weak shot straight at Moala and Christia’an Ohasio blasted over the bar a minute later.
Hudyn Irodao made it four for the Solomons with a powerful show that beat Moala at the near post in the 63rd minute. Solomon Islands coach Eddie Marahare made more substitutions enabling all 21 members of his squad to get game time during the Group stage of the competition.
Norman Winford then had a shot cleared off the line before Leon Kofana had a free header but flashed it over the crossbar.
Tonga had a glorious chance to get on the scoreboard when Lisiate Feke was put clear through on goal, but he fired straight at Davidson Malam in the Solomon Islands goal.
A couple of minutes later Malam made a hash of a clearance and the ball fell to David-John Tuamoheloa who fired into the empty net for Tonga’s first goal of the tournament.
Substitute Wesley Toitani restored the four goal cushion a couple of minutes later with a classy finish for the Solomon Islands.