A late goal onslaught has given New Caledonia a crucial 6-2 win against Solomon Islands in Honiara, severely denting the home team’s 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ ambitions.
Solomon Islands twice pulled themselves level only for New Caledonia to hit four unanswered goals in the final 12 minutes.
Georges Gope-Fenepej, of French Ligue 1 club Troyes, led the way for New Caledonia scoring a hat-trick, while there were also goals for Roy Kayara and Jacques Haeko, and Emmanuel Poila netted an own goal.
Tutizama Tanito equalised for the Solomon Islands in the first half and Joses Nawo did likewise on the hour mark, after the Bonitos had fallen behind inside the opening ten minutes with Kayara giving the visitors a perfect start.
New Caledonia now join New Zealand at the top on six points, with the All Whites to play Tahiti later today (Saturday CET) in Papeete. Solomon Islands remain on three points and are now in danger of losing touch with the top teams, having played three of their six matches. The winner of the four-nation group will play-off against a CONCACAF representative for a berth to Brazil 2014.
The two nations will meet again on Tuesday in Noumea, while New Zealand host Tahiti in Christchurch.