6 Jun 2012

Historic draw for Solomons

6:51 pm on 6 June 2012

The Solomon Islands football team has drawn 1-1 with New Zealand in their final pool match at the Oceania Nations Cup in Honiara.

It's the first-ever draw for the Solomons with the All Whites.

Chris Wood survived a tight offside line to lash the opener home in the 14th minute and Benjamin Totori brought the home crowd to a frenzy after the striker whipped in a spectacular top corner equaliser 12 minutes after half-time.

Coach Ricki Herbert fielded nine new players in his 'B' team with one eye on Friday's semi-finals where they'll face New Caledonia. Herbert's men had already qualified for the knockout stages and the next stage of World Cup qualifying, starting in September.

New Zealand top the group with seven points to the Solomons' five. The hosts now play Tahiti.

Fiji earlier also drew 1-1 with Papua New Guinea in their final pool match, which meant neither side could qualify for the semis - Fiji had the chance to stay alive with a win but they finish on two points, while the draw gives Papua New Guinea its only point of the tournament.

The All Whites games are now being broadcast on Sky Television after a deal was reached with the Oceania Football Confederation to screen its footage here.