Tahiti beach soccer team on track for World Cup playoffs

Tahiti overwhelmed Spain 12-8 in their second World Cup group match. Photo: Facebook/Fédération Tahitienne de Football

Tahiti are a win away from the knockout rounds at the Beach Soccer World Cup after beating Spain 12-8 in their second group match in Moscow.

Heimanu Taiarui gave the Tiki Toa an early lead with a long range effort after 69 seconds, before Javi equalised in the sixth minute with a stunning bicycle kick.

Dylan Paama restored Tahiti’s lead from the penalty spot four minutes later before player-coach Teva Zaveroni and Teaonui Tehau stretched the Tahitians advantage to 4-1 at the end of the first period.

Spain came fast out of the blocks to start the second period, with brothers David and Chiky Ardil finding the net in quick succession to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Teaonui Tehau poked home his second goal of the game before a double from Heirauarii Salem reasserted control for the Oceania champions, only for Riduan to score from two direct free kicks to cut Spain’s deficit to 7-5 heading into the final period.

Pablo Perez and Chiky struck early in the final spell to level the scores at 7-7 but from there Tahiti took their game to another gear, with Tamatoa Tetauira, Zaveroni, Paama, Tetauira and Zaveroni combining for a five-goal burst in the space of seven minutes which put the result beyond doubt.

Javi Torres managed a consolation free kick in the final moments but it was Tahiti who secured a crucial 12-8 win in the second highest scoring match in tournament history, to keep their quarter final hopes alive.

Heirauarii Salem scored twice for the Tiki Toa. Photo: Facebook/Fédération Tahitienne de Football

The 2015 and 2017 World Cup runners up are top of Group B going into their final group match against Mozambique overnight, knowing a win in normal time would guarantee them a spot in the knockout rounds.

Tahiti, Spain and Mozambique all have three points from two matches, wiith the Tiki Toa atop the group thanks to a superior goal difference, while the UAE are just one point adrift.

Resource: RNZ