13 Jun 2017

Sport: Last chance for Solomons, PNG World Cup hopes

12:07 pm on 13 June 2017

Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have 90 minutes to earn a spot in the final round of Oceania qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while Tahiti will be hoping the Melanesian rivals cancel each other out.

After Solomon Islands triumphed 3-2 in Honiara on Friday, a draw in Port Moresby would be enough for the Bonitos to overtake Tahiti at the top of Group B and advance to a home and away qualifying final against New Zealand.

Solomon Islands celebrate a goal in Honiara.

Solomon Islands celebrate a goal in Honiara. Photo: OFC Media

Head coach Vega Arango Alonso said they were in a good position but won't be taking PNG lightly.

"It's going to be tough - the same thing I said about the first match - it's going to be tough," he said.

"They are going to prepare because they have their pride and they want to win.

"But now it is a completely different ball game because the tie is good for us, so we don't need to take that many risks. They are the ones that need to take risks.

"They are going to make adjustments because they are a well-coached team, they have good players - we have to make some adjustments."

Bonitos coach Vega Arango Alonso.

Bonitos coach Vega Arango Alonso. Photo: OFC Media

The task is much tougher for the Kapuls, who need to win by five or more goals to pip their two rivals on goal difference.

Despite being back on home soil and the return of winger Nigel Dabinyaba, head coach Flemming Serritslev admitted they were up against it.

"As far as I can see it will be difficult for us to reach the next stage," he said.

"We have conceded too many goals - should we go on then it takes a very big win against Solomon Islands on Tuesday in Port Moresby.

"We will do our best to do it but we also know we are still facing a strong team."

PNG coach Flemming Serritslev.

PNG coach Flemming Serritslev. Photo: OFC Media

If Papua New Guinea win but by less than five goals then Tahiti will retain top spot in the group and advance to the OFC Stage 3 final against New Zealand.