Tahiti have qualified for another Beach Soccer World Cup after beating Solomon Islands 4-3 in a hard-fought Oceania final in Papeete yesterday.
The Tiki Toa went into the match as heavy favourites having beaten the Bilikiki 11-6 during their group stage encounter two days earlier.
The first of three periods brought no goals scored and it wasn't until late in the second that Solomon Islands went in front thanks to a powerful drive by Allan Farobo.
But the hosts responded a few minutes later with back to back goals from Patrick Tepa and Heiarii Tavanae to take a 2-1 lead into the final period.
Tavanae struck again to give the Tiki Toa a 3-1 buffer before McPhillip Aisa pegged a goal back for Solomon Islands, who were attempting to retain their Oceania title won back in 2013.
However, Bilikiki goalkeeper Fred Hale gifted the hosts an opportunity to restore their two-goal cushion after conceding a technical foul and Heimanu Taiarui made no mistake, converting from the penalty spot to give Tahiti a 4-2 lead.
Roy Mafane managed a consolation strike for Solomon Islands with 12 seconds left on the clock but it wasn't enough to prevent Tahiti from claiming victory and securing their passage to a fifth-consecutive Beach Soccer World Cup.
Tiki Toa coach Naea Bennett admitted his side was pushed all the way in a dramatic final.
"What a match, a real grand final and it's great for the people watching it here today," he said. "Solomon Islands are a very good team, they proved that during our first game and proved it again today.
"Congratulations to this team who didn't give up and fought from the beginning till the end. They made us doubt ourselves a little bit so we are very happy to win this game."
Solomon Islands coach Gideon Omokirio said despite the defeat his players executed their game-plan well.
"I'm very proud of them, they did what they were told and we performed the way we wanted to," he said. "The difference is technical ability. That was obvious from the start.
"Through their technical ability they were able to maintain pressure, trusting their ability to control the ball and that's why they edged us today. Beach soccer is growing very strongly in the islands and we are going to build from today and continue to work very hard to return and finish by becoming champions again."
It was an emotional occasion for Bilikiki legend James Naka who announced his retirement after the final whistle.
Naka scored 25 goals in five World Cup appearances and was involved with four OFC Beach Soccer winning teams during his long career with the national team.
"This is my last tournament," he said. "I want to see more young players play beach soccer in the future. I believe one day my country will return to the World Cup and win the OFC title."
Tahiti will now begin preparations for the Beach Soccer World Cup, which kicks off in Paraguay in November, having finished runners up in both 2015 and 2017.
Meanwhile, New Caledonia pipped Vanuatu 8-7 in the playoff for third place, with Les Cagous overturning a seven-goal defeat by the same opponent during pool play.
Amy Antoine Roine bagged a hat-trick for the French territory while Vanuatu's Octav Meltecoin was sent off during the final period.